Is there a discrepancy between geological and geodetic slip rates along the San Andreas Fault System?

TitleIs there a discrepancy between geological and geodetic slip rates along the San Andreas Fault System?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsTong X.P, Smith-Konter B, Sandwell DT
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research-Solid Earth
Date Published2014/03
Type of ArticleArticle
ISBN Number2169-9313
Accession NumberWOS:000336844700053
Keywordsamerica plate boundary; deformation; earthquake-cycle; eastern california; global positioning system; mantle flow; shear zone; southern california; strain accumulation; united-states

Previous inversions for slip rate along the San Andreas Fault System (SAFS), based on elastic half-space models, show a discrepancy between the geologic and geodetic slip rates along a few major fault segments. In this study, we use an earthquake cycle model representing an elastic plate over a viscoelastic half-space to demonstrate that there is no significant discrepancy between long-term geologic and geodetic slip rates. The California statewide model includes 41 major fault segments having steady slip from the base of the locked zone to the base of the elastic plate and episodic shallow slip based on known historical ruptures and geologic recurrence intervals. The slip rates are constrained by 1981 secular velocity measurements from GPS and L-band intereferometric synthetic aperture radar. A model with a thick elastic layer (60 km) and half-space viscosity of 10(19)Pa s is preferred because it produces the smallest misfit to both the geologic and the geodetic data. We find that the geodetic slip rates from the thick plate model agrees to within the bounds of the geologic slip rates, while the rates from the elastic half-space model disagree on specific important fault segments such as the Mojave and the North Coast segment of the San Andreas Fault. The viscoelastic earthquake cycle models have generally higher slip rates than the half-space model because most of the faults along the SAFS are late in the earthquake cycle, so today they are moving slower than the long-term cycle-averaged velocity as governed by the viscoelastic relaxation process.

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