Asymmetry in elastic properties and the evolution of large continental strike-slip faults

Abstract : We use geodetic studies to quantify several cases of significant asymmetry in interseismic and coseismic effects along large continental strike-slip faults using simple two-dimensional edge dislocation models. We first show that asymmetric elastic loading characterizes the present Main Marmara Fault, a portion of the North Anatolian Fault along the northern margin of the Sea of Marmara. The ratio of asymmetry there is about 10. This ratio is even larger, about 30, along the northern Sumatra fault near lake Toba caldera. We then examine two profiles near Point Reyes and Point Arena across the northern San Andreas Fault that have been previously proposed as affected by asymmetry both in interseismic and coseismic effects. We show that an asymmetry ratio of 1.6 in interseismic loading exists near Point Arena, with the southwest side of the fault being more rigid than the northeast one. On the other hand, we do not find significant asymmetry for the Point Reyes profile that was previously described as highly asymmetric. We examine coseismic motion during the 1906 earthquake along the same two profiles. Ratios of 1.2 and 1.7 are found for the Point Arena and Point Reyes profiles, respectively. We discuss the possible causes of asymmetry. Contrasts in seismic velocity in the brittle portion suggest ratios generally not exceeding 2.5 for the dynamic rigidity in the upper brittle section. Larger ratios may involve other complex causes such as differences between static and dynamic rigidities, contrasts in rheology in the deeper creeping sections, and postseismic transients. We conclude that asymmetry should be systematically included within the parameters to be inverted when dealing with the mechanics of large-scale strike-slip faults. Citation: Le Pichon, X., C. Kreemer, and N. Chamot-Rooke (2005), Asymmetry in elastic properties and the evolution of large continental strike-slip faults,
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Xavier Le Pichon, Corné Kreemer, Nicolas Chamot-Rooke. Asymmetry in elastic properties and the evolution of large continental strike-slip faults. Journal of Geophysical Research, American Geophysical Union, 2005, 110 (B3), pp.B03405. ⟨10.1029/2004JB003343⟩. ⟨hal-01793650⟩

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