In a linear system the earthquake cycle can be represented as the sum of a solution which reproduces the earthquake cycle itself (viscoelastic-coupling model) and a solution that provides the driving force. We consider two cases, one in which the earthquake cycle is driven by stresses transmitted along the schizosphere and a second in which the cycle is driven from below by stresses transmitted along the upper mantle (i.e., the schizosphere and upper mantle, respectively, act as stress guides in the lithosphere). In both cases the driving stress is attributed to steady motion of the stress guide, and the upper crust is assumed to be elastic. The surface deformation that accumulates during the interseismic interval depends solely upon the earthquake-cycle solution (viscoelastic-coupling model) not upon the driving source solution. Thus geodetic observations of interseismic deformation are insensitive to the source of the driving forces in a linear system. In particular, the suggestion of Bourne et al.  that the deformation that accumulates across a transform fault system in the interseismic interval is a replica of the deformation that accumulates in the upper mantle during the same interval does not appear to be correct for linear systems.
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Viscoelastic-coupling model for the earthquake cycle driven from below