Publications

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2014
Lindsey, EO, Fialko Y, Bock Y, Sandwell DT, Bilham R.  2014.  Localized and distributed creep along the southern San Andreas Fault. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 119:7909-7922.   10.1002/2014jb011275   AbstractWebsite

We investigate the spatial pattern of surface creep and off-fault deformation along the southern segment of the San Andreas Fault using a combination of multiple interferometric synthetic aperture radar viewing geometries and survey-mode GPS occupations of a dense array crossing the fault. Radar observations from Envisat during the period 2003-2010 were used to separate the pattern of horizontal and vertical motion, providing a high-resolution image of uplift and shallow creep along the fault trace. The data reveal pervasive shallow creep along the southernmost 50 km of the fault. Creep is localized on a well-defined fault trace only in the Mecca Hills and Durmid Hill areas, while elsewhere creep appears to be distributed over a 1-2 km wide zone surrounding the fault. The degree of strain localization is correlated with variations in the local fault strike. Using a two-dimensional boundary element model, we show that stresses resulting from slip on a curved fault can promote or inhibit inelastic failure within the fault zone in a pattern matching the observations. The occurrence of shallow, localized interseismic fault creep within mature fault zones may thus be partly controlled by the local fault geometry and normal stress, with implications for models of fault zone evolution, shallow coseismic slip deficit, and geologic estimates of long-term slip rates. Key PointsShallow creep is pervasive along the southernmost 50 km of the San Andreas FaultCreep is localized only along transpressional fault segmentsIn transtensional areas, creep is distributed over a 1-2 km wide fault zone

Gonzalez-Ortega, A, Fialko Y, Sandwell D, Nava-Pichardo FA, Fletcher J, Gonzalez-Garcia J, Lipovsky B, Floyd M, Funning G.  2014.  El Mayor-Cucapah ( M-w 7.2) earthquake: Early near-field postseismic deformation from InSAR and GPS observations. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 119:1482-1497.   10.1002/2013jb010193   AbstractWebsite

El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake occurred on 4 April 2010 in northeastern Baja California just south of the U.S.-Mexico border. The earthquake ruptured several previously mapped faults, as well as some unidentified ones, including the Pescadores, Borrego, Paso Inferior and Paso Superior faults in the Sierra Cucapah, and the Indiviso fault in the Mexicali Valley and Colorado River Delta. We conducted several Global Positioning System (GPS) campaign surveys of preexisting and newly established benchmarks within 30km of the earthquake rupture. Most of the benchmarks were occupied within days after the earthquake, allowing us to capture the very early postseismic transient motions. The GPS data show postseismic displacements in the same direction as the coseismic displacements; time series indicate a gradual decay in postseismic velocities with characteristic time scales of 669days and 203days, assuming exponential and logarithmic decay, respectively. We also analyzed interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data from the Envisat and ALOS satellites. The main deformation features seen in the line-of-sight displacement maps indicate subsidence concentrated in the southern and northern parts of the main rupture, in particular at the Indiviso fault, at the Laguna Salada basin, and at the Paso Superior fault. We show that the near-field GPS and InSAR observations over a time period of 5months after the earthquake can be explained by a combination of afterslip, fault zone contraction, and a possible minor contribution of poroelastic rebound. Far-field data require an additional mechanism, most likely viscoelastic relaxation in the ductile substrate.

2013
Crowell, BW, Bock Y, Sandwell DT, Fialko Y.  2013.  Geodetic investigation into the deformation of the Salton Trough. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 118:5030-5039.   10.1002/jgrb.50347   AbstractWebsite

The Salton Trough represents a complex transition between the spreading center in Baja California and the strike-slip San Andreas fault system and is one of the most active zones of deformation and seismicity in California. We present a high-resolution interseismic velocity field for the Salton Trough derived from 74 continuous GPS sites and 109 benchmarks surveyed in three GPS campaigns during 2008-2009 and previous surveys between 2000 and 2005. We also investigate small-scale deformation by removing the regional velocity field predicted by an elastic block model for Southern California from the observed velocities. We find a total extension rate of 11mm/yr from the Mesquite Basin to the southern edge of the San Andreas Fault, coupled with 15mm/yr of left-lateral shear, the majority of which is concentrated in the southern Salton Sea and Obsidian Buttes and is equivalent to 17mm/yr oriented in the direction of the San Andreas Fault. Differential shear strain is exclusively localized in the Brawley Seismic Zone, and dilatation rate indicates widespread extension throughout the zone. In addition, we infer clockwise rotation of 10 degrees/Ma, consistent with northwestward propagation of the Brawley Seismic Zone over geologic time.

2009
Ujiie, K, Tsutsumi A, Fialko Y, Yamaguchi H.  2009.  Experimental investigation of frictional melting of argillite at high slip rates: Implications for seismic slip in subduction-accretion complexes. Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 114   10.1029/2008jb006165   AbstractWebsite

Discovery of pseudotachylytes from exhumed accretionary complexes indicates that frictional melting occurred along illite-rich, argillite-derived slip zones during subduction earthquakes. We conducted high-velocity friction experiments on argillite at a slip rate of 1.13 m/s and normal stresses of 2.67-13.33 MPa. Experiments show slip weakening followed by slip strengthening. Slip weakening is associated with the formation and shearing of low-viscosity melt patches. The subsequent slip strengthening occurred despite the reduction in shear strain rate due to the growth (thickening) of melt layer, suggesting that the viscosity of melt layer increased with slip. Microstructural and chemical analyses suggest that the viscosity increase during the slip strengthening is not due to an increase in the volume fraction of solid grains and bubbles in the melt layer but could be caused primarily by dehydration of the melt layer. Our experimental results suggest that viscous braking can be efficient at shallow depths of subduction-accretion complexes if substantial melt dehydration occurs on a timescale of seismic slip. Melt lubrication can possibly occur at greater depths within subduction-accretion complexes because the ratio of viscous shear to normal stress decreases with depth. Argillite-derived natural pseudotachylytes formed at seismogenic depths in subduction-accretion complexes are more hydrous than the experimentally generated pseudotachylytes and may be evidence of nearly complete stress drop.

2005
Fialko, Y, Khazan Y.  2005.  Fusion by earthquake fault friction: Stick or slip? Journal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth. 110   10.1029/2005jb003869   AbstractWebsite

[1] Field observations of pseudotachylites and experimental studies of high-speed friction indicate that melting on a slipping interface may significantly affect the magnitude of shear stresses resisting slip. We investigate the effects of rock melting on the dynamic friction using theoretical models of shear heating that couple heat transfer, thermodynamics of phase transitions, and fluid mechanics. Results of laboratory experiments conducted at high ( order of m/s) slip velocities but low ( order of MPa) normal stresses suggest that the onset of frictional melting may give rise to substantial increases in the effective fault strength, presumably due to viscous effects. However, extrapolation of the modeling results to in situ conditions suggests that the efficiency of viscous braking is significantly reduced under high normal and shear stresses. When transient increases in the dynamic fault strength due to fusion are not sufficient to inhibit slip, decreases in the effective melt viscosity due to shear heating and melting of clasts drastically decrease the dynamic friction, resulting in a nearly complete stress drop ("thermal runaway''). The amount of energy dissipation associated with the formation of pseudotachylites is governed by the temperature dependence of melt viscosity and the average clast size in the fault gouge prior to melting. Clasts from a coarse-grained gouge have lower chances of survival in a pseudotachylite due to a higher likelihood of nonequilibrium overheating. The maximum temperature and energy dissipation attainable on the fault surface are ultimately limited by either the rock solidus ( via viscous braking, and slip arrest) or liquidus ( via thermal runaway and vanishing resistance to sliding). Our modeling results indicate that the thermally activated fault strengthening and rupture arrest are unlikely to occur in most mafic protoliths but might be relevant for quartz-rich rocks, especially at shallow (< 5 - 7 km) depths where the driving shear stress is relatively low.

2002
Jacobs, A, Sandwell D, Fialko Y, Sichoix L.  2002.  The 1999 (M-w 7. 1) Hector Mine, California, earthquake: Near-field postseismic deformation from ERS interferometry. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 92:1433-1442.   10.1785/0120000908   AbstractWebsite

Interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) data over the area of the Hector Mine earthquake (M-w 7.1, 16 October 1999) reveal postseismic deformation of several centimeters over a spatial scale of 0.5 to 50 km. We analyzed seven SAR acquisitions to form interferograms over four time periods after the event. The main deformations seen in the line-of-sight (LOS) displacement maps are a region of subsidence (60 mm LOS increase) on the northern end of the fault, a region of uplift (45 mm LOS decrease) located to the northeast of the primary fault bend, and a linear trough running along the main rupture having a depth of up to 15 mm and a width of about 2 km. We correlate these features with a double left-bending, right-lateral, strike-slip fault that exhibits contraction on the restraining side and extension along the releasing side of the fault bends. The temporal variations in the near-fault postseismic deformation are consistent with a characteristic time scale of 135 + 42 or - 25 days, which is similar to the relaxation times following the 1992 Landers earthquake. High gradients in the LOS displacements occur on the fault trace, consistent with afterslip on the earthquake rupture. We derive an afterslip model by inverting the LOS data from both the ascending and descending orbits. Our model indicates that much of the afterslip occurs at depths of less than 3 to 4 km.