Published slip rates for the Owens Valley fault zone in eastern California based on geodetic data and elastic half-space models (5–7 mm/yr) are faster than longer term geologic rates (2–3 mm/yr). We use Global Positioning System data spanning the central Owens Valley, a more realistic rheological model with an elastic upper crust over a viscoelastic lower crust and upper mantle, and paleoseismic data from adjacent faults, to show that this difference could reflect earthquake-cycle effects. We estimate a long-term rate (2.1 ± 0.7 mm/yr) and earthquake recurrence interval (2750 +350/−1000 yr) from the geodetic data, both in agreement with independent geologic estimates.

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