Acceleration and evolution of faults: An example from the Hunter Mountain-Panamint Valley fault zone, Eastern California

Noel Gourmelen*, Timothy H. Dixon, Falk Amelung, Gina Schmalzle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We present new space geodetic data indicating that the present slip rate on the Hunter Mountain-Panamint Valley fault zone in Eastern California (5.0 +/- 0.5 mm/yr) is significantly faster than geologic estimates based on fault total offset and inception time. We interpret this discrepancy as evidence for an accelerating fault and propose a new model for fault initiation and evolution. In this model, fault slip rate initially increases with time; hence geologic estimates averaged over the early stages of the fault's activity will tend to underestimate the present-day rate. The model is based on geologic data (total offset and fault initiation time) and geodetic data (present day slip rate). The model assumes a monotonic increase in slip rate with time as the fault matures and straightens. The rate increase follows a simple Rayleigh cumulative distribution. Integrating the rate-time path from fault inception to present-day gives the total fault offset. (C) 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-344
Number of pages8
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Volume301
Issue number1-2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2011

Keywords

  • geodesy
  • fault evolution
  • InSAR
  • rock mechanics
  • Western United States
  • Eastern California Shear Zone
  • Hunter Mountain Fault
  • SAN-ANDREAS FAULT
  • TRANSIENT STRAIN ACCUMULATION
  • NORTH AMERICA MOTION
  • NEVADA SEISMIC BELT
  • STRIKE-SLIP FAULTS
  • ASH HILL FAULT
  • SHEAR ZONE
  • SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
  • LANDERS EARTHQUAKE
  • MOJAVE-DESERT

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