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Buried Aseismic Slip and Off‐Fault Deformation on the Southernmost San Andreas Fault Triggered by the 2010 El Mayor Cucapah Earthquake Revealed by UAVSAR


We use UAVSAR interferograms to characterize fault slip, triggered by the Mw 7.2 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake on the 1 San Andreas Fault in the Coachella Valley providing comprehensive maps of short-term geodetic surface deformation that complement in situ measurements. Creepmeters and geological mapping of fault offsets on Durmid Hill recorded 4 and 8 mm of average triggered slip respectively on the fault, in contrast to radar views that reveal significant off-fault dextral deformation averaging 20 mm. Unlike slip in previous triggered slip events on the southernmost San Andreas fault, dextral shear in 2010 is not confined to transpressional hills in the Coachella valley. Edge detection and gradient estimation applied to the 50-m-sampled interferogram data identify the location (to 20 m) and local strike (to <4°) of secondary surface ruptures. Transverse curve fitting applied to these local detections provides local estimates of the radar-projected dextral slip and a parameter indicating the transverse width of the slip, which we equate with the depth of subsurface shear. These estimates are partially validated by fault-transverse interferogram profiles generated using the GeoGateway UAVSAR tool, and appear consistent for radar-projected slip greater than about 5 mm. An unexpected finding is that creep and triggered slip on the San Andreas fault terminate in the shallow subsurface below a surface shear zone that resists the simple expression of aseismic fault slip. We introduce the notion of a surface locking depth above which fault slip is manifest as distributed shear, and evaluate its depth as 6-27 m.

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