Acceleration and Evolution of Faults: An Example from the Hunter Mountain–Panamint Valley Fault Zone, Eastern California

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geodesy, fault evolution, InSAR, rock mechanics, Western United States, Eastern California Shear Zone, Hunter Mountain Fault

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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.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 301, issues 1-2, p. 337-344