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Transient Deformation in California From Two Decades of GPS Displacements: Implications for a Three-Dimensional Kinematic Reference Frame.

  • Author(s): Klein, Emilie
  • Bock, Yehuda
  • Xu, Xiaohua
  • Sandwell, David T
  • Golriz, Dorian
  • Fang, Peng
  • Su, Lina
  • et al.
Abstract

Our understanding of plate boundary deformation has been enhanced by transient signals observed against the backdrop of time-independent secular motions. We make use of a new analysis of displacement time series from about 1,000 continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) stations in California from 1999 to 2018 to distinguish tectonic and nontectonic transients from secular motion. A primary objective is to define a high-resolution three-dimensional reference frame (datum) for California that can be rapidly maintained with geodetic data to accommodate both secular and time-dependent motions. To this end, we compare the displacements to those predicted by a horizontal secular fault slip model for the region and construct displacement and strain rate fields. Over the past 19 years, California has experienced 19 geodetically detectable earthquakes and widespread postseismic deformation. We observe postseismic strain rate variations as large as 1,000 nstrain/year with moment releases equivalent up to an Mw6.8 earthquake. We find significant secular differences up to 10 mm/year with the fault slip model, from the Mendocino Triple Junction to the southern Cascadia subduction zone, the northern Basin and Range, and the Santa Barbara channel. Secular vertical uplift is observed across the Transverse Ranges, Coastal Ranges, Sierra Nevada, as well as large-scale postseismic uplift after the 1999 Mw7.1 Hector Mine and 2010 Mw7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquakes. We also identify areas of vertical land motions due to anthropogenic, natural, and magmatic processes. Finally, we demonstrate the utility of the kinematic datum by improving the accuracy of high-spatial-resolution 12-day repeat-cycle Sentinel-1 Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar displacement and velocity maps.

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