Repository of works by Caltech published authors.
Group = Caltech Tectonics Observatory
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Lithological control on the deformation mechanism and the mode of fault slip on the Longitudinal Valley Fault, Taiwan - Thomas, Marion Y.; Avouac, Jean-Philippe; Gratier, Jean-Pierre; Lee, Jian-Cheng
The Longitudinal Valley Fault (LVF) in Taiwan is creeping at shallow depth along its southern half, where it is bounded by the Lichi Mélange. By contrast, the northern segment of the LVF is locked where it is bounded by forearc sedimentary and volcanoclastic formations. Structural and petrographic investigations show that the Lichi Mélange most probably formed as a result of internal deformation of the forearc when the continental shelf of South China collided with the Luzon arc as a result of the subduction of the South China Sea beneath the Philippine Sea Plate. The forearc formations constitute the protolith of...
Upper mantle surprises derived from the recent Virginia earthquake waveform data - Chu, Risheng; Helmberger, Don; Gurnis, Michael
Recent high resolution regional waveform modeling reveals that the lithosphere beneath the North American craton is subdivided into an upper nearly uniform layer and a lower layer with a high velocity gradient. The boundary occurs at about a depth of 115 km and is responsible for 8° discontinuity in seismic record sections that is often observed in craton environments. Unexpectedly, we find seismic velocities in the lower layer significantly reduced along a corridor from the New Madrid rift zone to Virginia. This reduced velocity in the lower lithosphere may be associated with a possible historic hotspot activity. We also find...
Modeling deformation induced by seasonal variations of continental water in the Himalaya region: Sensitivity to Earth elastic structure - Chanard, K.; Avouac, J. P.; Ramillien, G.; Genrich, J.
Strong seasonal variations of horizontal and vertical positions are observed on GPS time series from stations located in Nepal, India, and Tibet (China). We show that this geodetic deformation can be explained by seasonal variations of continental water storage driven by the monsoon. For this purpose, we use satellite data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment to determine the time evolution of surface loading. We compute the expected geodetic deformation assuming a perfectly elastic Earth model. We consider Green's functions, describing the surface deformation response to a point load, for an elastic homogeneous half-space model and for a layered...
Spatiotemporal evolution of seismic and aseismic slip on the Longitudinal Valley Fault, Taiwan - Thomas, Marion Y.; Avouac, Jean-Philippe; Champenois, Johann; Lee, Jian-Cheng; Kuo, Long-Chen
The Longitudinal Valley Fault (LVF) in eastern Taiwan is a high slip rate fault (about 5 cm/yr), which exhibits both seismic and aseismic slip. Deformation of anthropogenic features shows that aseismic creep accounts for a significant fraction of fault slip near the surface, whereas a fraction of the slip is also seismic, since this fault has produced large earthquakes with five M_w>6.8 events in 1951 and 2003. In this study, we analyze a dense set of geodetic and seismological data around the LVF, including campaign mode Global Positioning System(GPS) measurements, time series of daily solutions for continuous GPS stations (cGPS),...
Response of rate-and-state seismogenic faults to harmonic shear-stress perturbations - Ader, Thomas J.; Lapusta, Nadia; Avouac, Jean-Philippe; Ampuero, Jean-Paul
Field and laboratory observations show that seismicity has non-trivial period-dependent response to periodic stress perturbations. In Nepal, seismicity shows significant variations in response to annual monsoon-induced stress variations but not to semidiurnal tidal stresses of the same magnitude. Such period dependence cannot be explained by the Coulomb failure model and spring-slider rate-and-state model (SRM). Here, we study seismicity response to periodic stress perturbations in a 2-D continuum model of a rate-and-state fault (that is, a finite rate-and-state fault). We find that the resulting seismicity indeed exhibits nearly periodic variations. Their amplitude is maximum at a certain period, T_a, and decreases...
Zircon age and oxygen isotopic correlations between Bouse Formation tephra and the Lawlor Tuff - Harvey, Janet C.
The Bouse Formation in the lower Colorado River trough holds an important record of the onset of the modern drainage patterns in the southwestern United States. It comprises calcareous and clastic infill deposited during flooding of several basins, including the Bristol and Blythe subbasins of Lake Bouse. An intercalated ash bed, which is key to constraining its depositional age, is exposed in two locations, Buzzards Peak and Amboy. Comparative zircon tephrochronology by secondary ion microprobe analysis of U-Pb zircon crystallization ages, U-Th trace element abundances, and oxygen isotopic composition confirm a correlation between the Bouse Formation tephra and the 4.834...
From deep to modern time along the western Sierra Nevada Foothills of California, San Joaquin to Kern River drainages - Saleeby, Jason; Saleeby, Zorka; Sousa, Frank
This two day field trip presents an overview of ~ 500 m.y. of diverse geologic history
along the southwestern Sierra Nevada Foothills, with focus on several profound
geologic features that distinguish this part of the western foothills. These features
include (1) a highly deformed oceanic Moho section through the Kings River ophiolite,
interpreted as a Carboniferous abyssal core complex; (2) Permo-Carboniferous
ophiolitic mélange interpreted to have formed and been emplaced along the SW Cordilleran
edge transform, along which the early Mesozoic convergent margin initiated;
(3) Early Cretaceous mafic rocks of the western Sierra Nevada batholith, which also
characterize much of the Great Valley basement; (4) evidence for 1000-m-scale...
Pliocene–Quaternary subsidence and exhumation of the southeastern San Joaquin Basin, California, in response to mantle lithosphere removal - Cecil, M. Robinson; Saleeby, Z.; Saleeby, J.; Farley, K. A.
Thermomechanical models of mantle lithosphere removal from beneath the southern Sierra Nevada region, California (USA), predict a complex spatiotemporal pattern of vertical surface displacements. We evaluate these models by using (U-Th)/He thermochronometry, together with other paleothermometry estimates, to investigate such topographic transients. We target Tertiary strata from the Kern arch, a crescent-shaped active uplift located in the southeastern San Joaquin Basin, along the western flank of the southern Sierra Nevada. Kern arch stratigraphy provides a unique record of subsidence and exhumation in a sensitive region immediately adjacent to the delaminating mantle lithosphere at depth. Detrital apatite (U-Th)/He ages from Oligocene–Miocene...
Active tectonics and earthquake potential of the Myanmar region - Wang, Yu; Sieh, Kerry; Tun, Soe Thura; Lai, Kuang-Yin; Myint, Than
This paper describes geomorphologic evidence for the principal neotectonic features of Myanmar and its immediate surroundings. We combine this evidence with published structural, geodetic, and seismic data to present an overview of the active tectonic architecture of the region and its seismic potential. Three tectonic systems accommodate oblique collision of the Indian plate with Southeast Asia and extrusion of Asian territory around the eastern syntaxis of the Himalayan mountain range. Subduction and collision associated with the Sunda megathrust beneath and within the Indoburman range and Naga Hills accommodate most of the shortening across the transpressional plate boundary. The Sagaing fault...
Imaging subducted slab structure beneath the Sea of Okhotsk with teleseismic waveforms - Zhan, Zhongwen; Helmberger, Donald V.; Li, Dunzhu
The structure of subducted slabs is not well imaged in most global tomographic models with anomalies typically less than 1%. Synthetic waveforms for such models are not noticeably different from their 1D reference models. In contrast, we find that observed teleseismic waveforms sampling slabs in the down-dip direction display multipathing features indicative of substantial structure. Such waveform complexity patterns appear distinctly different for various source locations with outer-rise events generally displaying relatively simple waveforms. Here, we model these waveform patterns for a portion of the Kuril subduction zone. The best fitting slab models have relatively fast cores (∼5%) with smooth...
The seismic cycle in the area of the 2011 M_w9.0 Tohoku-Oki earthquake - Perfettini, H.; Avouac, J. P.
We model seismic and aseismic slip on the Japan megathrust in the area of the M_w9.0, 2011 Tohoku-Oki earthquake based on daily time series from 400 GPS stations of the GEONET network and campaign measurements of six sea floor displacements. The coseismic and postseismic slip distributions are inverted simultaneously using principal component analysis-based inversion method (PCAIM). Exploring a wide range of boundary conditions and regularization constraints, we found the coseismic slip distribution to be quite compact with a peak slip between 30 and 50 m near the trench. Our model shows deep afterslip fringing the downdip edge of the coseismic...
Seismicity and structure in central Mexico: Evidence for a possible slab tear in the South Cocos plate - Dougherty, Sara L.; Clayton, Robert W.
The morphology of the transition from flat to normal subduction in eastern central Mexico is explored using intraslab earthquakes recorded by temporary and permanent regional seismic arrays. Observations of a sharp transition in slab dip near the abrupt end of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (TMVB) suggest a possible slab tear located within the subducted South Cocos plate. The eastern lateral extent of a thin ultra-slow velocity layer (USL) imaged atop the Cocos slab in recent studies along the Meso America Subduction Experiment array is examined here using additional data. We find an end to this USL which is coincident with...
Interaction of Cocos and Rivera plates with the upper-mantle transition zone underneath central Mexico - Pérez-Campos, Xyoli; Clayton, Robert W.
Receiver functions (RFs) from 224 permanent and temporary stations in central and southern Mexico were used to characterize the upper-mantle transition zone in that region. Discontinuities at 410 and 660 km depth are both deeper compared to iasp91, which reflects a slow velocity anomaly in the upper mantle. They show topography on the interfaces that is consistent with the interaction of the subducted slab or its broken off extension. A low-velocity layer on top of the 410 is identified mainly on the continental side of where the slab pierces it (i.e. in the lee of the slab roll-back). In general...
The crust and uppermost mantle structure of Southern Peru from ambient noise and earthquake surface wave analysis - Ma, Yiran; Clayton, Robert W.
Southern Peru is located in the northern Central Andes, which is the highest plateau along an active subduction zone. In this region, the Nazca slab changes from normal to flat subduction, with the associated Holocene volcanism ceasing above the flat subduction regime. We use 6 s to 67 s period surface wave signals from ambient noise cross-correlations and earthquake data, to image the shear wave velocity (V_(SV) structure to a depth of 140 km. A mid-crust low-velocity zone is revealed, and is interpreted as partially molten rocks that are part of the Andean low-velocity zone. It is oblique to the...
Improving InSAR geodesy using Global Atmospheric Models - Jolivet, Romain; Agram, Piyush Shanker; Lin, Nina Y.; Simons, Mark; Doin, Marie-Pierre; Peltzer, Gilles; Li, Zhenghong
Spatial and temporal variations of pressure, temperature, and water vapor content in the
atmosphere introduce significant confounding delays in interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR)
observations of ground deformation and bias estimates of regional strain rates. Producing robust estimates
of tropospheric delays remains one of the key challenges in increasing the accuracy of ground deformation
measurements using InSAR. Recent studies revealed the efficiency of global atmospheric reanalysis to
mitigate the impact of tropospheric delays, motivating further exploration of their potential. Here we
explore the effectiveness of these models in several geographic and tectonic settings on both single
interferograms and time series analysis products. Both hydrostatic and wet contributions...
The 2013, Mw 7.7 Balochistan earthquake, energetic strike-slip reactivation of a thrust fault - Avouac, Jean-Philippe; Ayoub, Francois; Wei, Shengji; Ampuero, Jean-Paul; Meng, Lingsen; Leprince, Sebastien; Jolivet, Romain; Duputel, Zacharie; Helmberger, Don
We analyse the Mw 7.7 Balochistan earthquake of 09/24/2013 based on ground surface deformation measured from sub-pixel correlation of Landsat-8 images, combined with back-projection and finite source modeling of teleseismic waveforms. The earthquake nucleated south of the Chaman strike-slip fault and propagated southwestward along the Hoshab fault at the front of the Kech Band. The rupture was mostly unilateral, propagated at 3 km/s on average and produced a 200 km surface fault trace with purely strike-slip displacement peaking to 10 m and averaging around 6 m. The finite source model shows that slip was maximum near the surface. Although the...
The 2013 M_w 7.7 Balochistan Earthquake: Seismic Potential of an Accretionary Wedge - Jolivet, R.; Duputel, Z.; Riel, B.; Simons, M.; Rivera, L.; Minson, S. E.; Zhang, H.; Aivazis, M. A. G.; Ayoub, F.; Leprince, S.; Samsonov, S.; Motagh, M.; Fielding, E. J.
Great earthquakes rarely occur within active accretionary prisms, despite the intense long‐term deformation associated with the formation of these geologic structures. This paucity of earthquakes is often attributed to partitioning of deformation across multiple structures as well as aseismic deformation within and at the base of the prism (Davis et al., 1983). We use teleseismic data and satellite optical and radar imaging of the 2013 M_w 7.7 earthquake that occurred on the southeastern edge of the Makran plate boundary zone to study this unexpected earthquake. We first compute a multiple point‐source solution from W‐phase waveforms to estimate fault geometry and...
Coseismic thrusting and folding in the 1999 M_w 7.6 Chi-Chi earthquake: A high-resolution approach by aerial photos taken
from Tsaotun, central Taiwan - Kuo, Yu-Ting; Ayoub, François; Leprince, Sébastien; Chen, Yue-Gau; Avouac, Jean-Philippe; Shyu, J. Bruce H.; Lai, Kuang-Yin; Kuo, Yu-Ju
We used aerial photos taken before and after the 21 September 1999, M_w 7.6, Chi-Chi earthquake in central Taiwan to measure the near-field ground deformation. A total of 12 pairs of images were processed with Co-registration of Optically Sensed Images and Correlation to produce a horizontal displacement map of a 10 km × 10 km area near Tsaotun. Using pairs of images with different viewing angles, both the horizontal and vertical slip across the fault zone can be measured. Our measurements when resampled into lower resolution are consistent with lower resolution measurements of horizontal displacements obtained from SPOT images, as...
Structure of the subduction transition region from seismic array data in southern Peru - Phillips, Kristin; Clayton, Robert W.
Data from three seismic arrays installed in southern Peru were analysed using receiver functions from P, PP and PKP wave phases, in order to image the subducted Nazca slab. The arrays cover the transition region from flat slab subduction in central Peru to normal subduction with an angle of about 30° further south. A previous study used data from the first array in the normal subduction region to image the Moho depth and slab, and showed the existence of a mid-crustal structure at 40 km depth that is suggested to be a possible underthrusting of the Brazilian shield. Here, we...
Rupture complexity of the 1994 Bolivia and 2013 Sea of Okhotsk deep earthquakes - Zhan, Zhongwen; Kanamori, Hiroo; Tsai, Victor C.; Helmberger, Donald V.; Wei, Shengji
The physical mechanism of deep earthquakes (depth >300 km) remains enigmatic, partly because their rupture dimensions are difficult to estimate due to their low aftershock productivity and absence of geodetic or surface rupture observations. The two largest deep earthquakes, the recent Great 2013 Sea of Okhotsk earthquake (M 8.3, depth 607 km) and the Great 1994 Bolivia earthquake (M 8.3, depth 637 km), together provide a unique opportunity to compare their rupture patterns in detail. Here we extend a travel-time sub-event location method to perform full teleseismic P-waveform inversion. This new method allows us to explain the observed broadband records with a...