Does interseismic strain localization near strike-slip faults result from boundary conditions or rheological structure? - Archive ouverte HAL Access content directly
Journal Articles Geophysical Journal International Year : 2014

Does interseismic strain localization near strike-slip faults result from boundary conditions or rheological structure?

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Abstract

Geodetic observations across most of the major strike-slip faults show an interseismic strain rate, which presents a sharp localization of elastic shear strain in the fault vicinity (20-60 km). The screw dislocation model of Savage & Burford is commonly used to fit these geodetic data and to retrieve the far field velocity and the locking depth. This model is very popular because of its inherent simplicity to derive fault slip rates, and mostly because it predicts locking depths, which are of the same order of magnitude as the base of the seismogenic zone (5-20 km). A first issue with the screw dislocation model is that localization is paradoxically introduced by imposing a step function in the velocity field at a depth where the crust is otherwise recognized to behave following a viscous rheology. A second issue with this model is that it is not consistent with the rheological model of the crust that is valid for both post- seismic (1-10 yr), interseismic (several thousand years) and long-term geodynamic (several thousand to several million years) timescales. Here we use numerical models to study how alternative and more geologically realistic boundary conditions and rheological structures can lead to the localization of elastic strain at the Earth's surface during the interseismic period. We find that simple elastic models resembling the Savage & Burford model but driven by far field plate velocity are inefficient at localizing strain unless this driving velocity is transmitted by a rigid indentor. We also find that models including a weak viscous heterogeneity beneath the fault zone are able to produce appropriate localization of the deformation near the fault. This alternative class of model is shown to be pertinent in regards to the boundary conditions and geological observations along exhumed ductile strike-slip shear zone.
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Dates and versions

hal-00946853 , version 1 (14-02-2014)

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Nafissatou Traore Traore, Laetitia Le Pourhiet, Joël Frelat, Frédérique Rolandone, Bertrand Meyer. Does interseismic strain localization near strike-slip faults result from boundary conditions or rheological structure?. Geophysical Journal International, 2014, pp.1-13. ⟨10.1093/gji/ggu011⟩. ⟨hal-00946853⟩
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