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Geodetic Imaging of the Earthquake Cycle


In this dissertation I used Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and Global Positioning System (GPS) to recover crustal deformation caused by earthquake cycle processes. The studied areas span three different types of tectonic boundaries: a continental thrust earthquake (M7.9 Wenchuan, China) at the eastern margin of the Tibet plateau, a mega-thrust earthquake (M8.8 Maule, Chile) at the Chile subduction zone, and the interseismic deformation of the San Andreas Fault System (SAFS). A new L-band radar onboard a Japanese satellite ALOS allows us to image high-resolution surface deformation in vegetated areas, which is not possible with older C-band radar systems. In particular, both the Wenchuan and Maule InSAR analyses involved L-band ScanSAR interferometry which had not been attempted before. I integrated a large InSAR dataset with dense GPS networks over the entire SAFS. The integration approach features combining the long- wavelength deformation from GPS with the short-wavelength deformation from InSAR through a physical model. The recovered fine-scale surface deformation leads us to better understand the underlying earthquake cycle processes. The geodetic slip inversion reveals that the fault slip of the Wenchuan earthquake is maximum near the surface and decreases with depth. The coseismic slip model of the Maule earthquake constrains the down-dip extent of the fault slip to be at 45 km depth, similar to the Moho depth. I inverted for the slip rate on 51 major faults of the SAFS using Green's functions for a 3-dimensional earthquake cycle model that includes kinematically prescribed slip events for the past earthquakes since the year 1000. A 60 km thick plate model with effective viscosity of 10¹⁹ Pa · s is preferred based on the geodetic and geological observations. The slip rates recovered from the plate models are compared to the half- space model. The InSAR observation reveals that the creeping section of the SAFS is partially locked. This high-resolution deformation model will refine the moment accumulation rates and shear strain rates, which are not well resolved by previous models

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