Long-term slip rates on major faults in the San Francisco Bay area are predicted by modeling the anelastic deformation of the continental lithosphere in response to regional relative plate motion. The model developed by Bird and Kong  is used to simulate lithospheric deformation according to a Coulomb frictional rheology of the upper crust and a dislocation creep rheology at depth. The focus of this study is the long-term motion of faults in a region extending from the creeping section of the San Andreas fault to the south up to the latitude of Cape Mendocino to the north. Boundary conditions are specified by the relative motion between the Pacific plate and the Sierra Nevada - Great Valley microplate [Argus and Gordon, 2000]. Rheologic-frictional parameters are specified as independent variables, and prediction errors are calculated with respect to geologic estimates of slip rates and maximum compressive stress directions. The model that best explains the region-wide observations is one in which the coefficient of friction on all of the major faults is less than 0.15, with the coefficient of friction for the San Andreas fault being approximately 0.09, consistent with previous inferences of San Andreas fault friction. Prediction error increases with lower fault friction on the San Andreas, indicating a lower bound of ??SAF > 0.08. Discrepancies with respect to previous slip rate estimates include a higher than expected slip rate along the peninsula segment of the San Andreas fault and a slightly lower than expected slip rate along the San Gregorio fault.
Additional Publication Details
Slip rates on San Francisco Bay area faults from anelastic deformation of the continental lithosphere