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Do Faults Localize as They Mature? Insight From 17 Continental Strike-slip Surface Rupturing Events (Mw > 6.1) Measured by Optical and Radar Imaging Data.

Chris Milliner, Jean-Philippe Avouac, Saif Aati, James F. Dolan, & James Hollingsworth

Submitted September 10, 2023, SCEC Contribution #13258, 2023 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #080

As faults accumulate displacement, they are thought to mature from disorganized and distributed fracture networks to more simplified throughgoing fault structures with a more localized zone of inelastic strain. Understanding the degree of inelastic strain localization holds importance for seismic hazard, as smoother faults are thought to host faster rupture velocities and have different seismic shaking intensities from ruptures along rougher, less mature faults. However, quantifying this evolutionary process of strain localization along major fault systems has been difficult due to a lack of near-field coseismic measurements. Here we test if such an evolutionary process exists by measuring the near-field surface deformation pattern of 17 large (6.0 ≤ Mw ≤ 7.9) continental strike-slip surface ruptures. To do this we use a range of geodetic imaging techniques including, a new 3D optical pixel tracking method, and pixel tracking of radar amplitude data acquired by satellite and UAVSAR platforms. With these geodetic imaging data we measure the total coseismic offset across the surface rupture and difference them from the displacements recorded by field surveys, which we assume captures the on-fault, discrete component of deformation. This differencing allows us to obtain an average magnitude of off-fault deformation for each earthquake, which we compare to a number of known source parameters to test the notion of progressive fault localization. Our results show that progressively smaller amounts of off-fault strain occur along fault systems with higher cumulative displacements, supporting the notion that faults systems localize as they mature. We also find strong correlations of off-fault deformation with the long-term fault slip-rate and the geometrical complexity of the mapped surface rupture, and a moderate correlation with rupture velocity. However, we find a weak-no correlation of off-fault deformation with the fault initiation age and the moment-scaled radiated energy. We also present comparisons of off-fault strain with other known seismic source parameters.

Milliner, C., Avouac, J., Aati, S., Dolan, J. F., & Hollingsworth, J. (2023, 09). Do Faults Localize as They Mature? Insight From 17 Continental Strike-slip Surface Rupturing Events (Mw > 6.1) Measured by Optical and Radar Imaging Data.. Poster Presentation at 2023 SCEC Annual Meeting.

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