Damage to fault-zone rocks during fault slip results in the formation of a channel of low seismic-wave velocities. Within such channels guided seismic waves, denoted by Fg, can propagate. Here we show with core samples, well logs and Fg-waves that such a channel is crossed by the SAFOD (San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth) borehole at a depth of 2.7 km near Parkfield, California, USA. This laterally extensive channel extends downwards to at least half way through the seismogenic crust, more than about 7 km. The channel supports not only the previously recognized Love-type- (FL) and Rayleigh-type- (FR) guided waves, but also a new fault-guided wave, which we name FF. As recorded 2.7 km underground, FF is normally dispersed, ends in an Airy phase, and arrives between the P- and S-waves. Modelling shows that FF travels as a leaky mode within the core of the fault zone. Combined with the drill core samples, well logs and the two other types of guided waves, FF at SAFOD reveals a zone of profound, deep, rock damage. Originating from damage accumulated over the recent history of fault movement, we suggest it is maintained either by fracturing near the slip surface of earthquakes, such as the 1857 Fort Tejon M 7.9, or is an unexplained part of the fault-creep process known to be active at this site.
Additional Publication Details
Deep rock damage in the San Andreas Fault revealed by P- and S-type fault-zone-guided waves