Abstract

Understanding fault slip rates in the eastern California shear zone (ECSZ) using GPS geodesy is complicated by potentially overlapping strain signals due to many sub-parallel strike-slip faults and by inconsistencies with geologic slip rates. The role of fault system geometry in describing ECSZ deformation may be investigated with total variation regularization, which algorithmically determines a best-fitting geometry from an initial model with numerous faults, constrained by a western United States GPS velocity field. The initial dense model (1) enables construction of the first geodetically constrained block model to include all ECSZ faults with geologic slip rates, allowing direct geologic-geodetic slip rate comparisons, and (2) permits fault system geometries with many active faults that are analogous to distributed interseismic deformation. Beginning with 58 ECSZ blocks, a model containing 10 ECSZ blocks is most consistent with geologic slip rates, reproducing five of 11 within their reported uncertainties. The model fits GPS observations with a mean residual velocity of 1.5 mm/yr. Persistent geologic-geodetic slip rate discrepancies occur on the Calico and Garlock faults, on which we estimate slip rates of 7.6 mm/yr and <2 mm/yr, respectively, indicating that inconsistencies between geology and geodesy may be concentrated on or near these faults and are not due to pervasive distributed deformation in the region. Discrepancies may in part be due to postseismic relaxation following the A.D. 1992 Mw 7.3 Landers and 1999 Mw 7.1 Hector Mine earthquakes. Otherwise, resolving geologic-geodetic discrepancies would require as much as 11.4 mm/yr of off-fault deformation within <10 km of the main ECSZ faults, with ∼5 mm/yr concentrated near the Calico fault.

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