Compilation of Surface Creep on California Faults and Comparison of WGCEP 2007 Deformation Model to Pacific-North American Plate Motion

Open-File Report 2007-1437-P

Prepared in cooperation with the California Geological Survey and the Southern California Earthquake Center
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This Appendix contains 3 sections that 1) documents published observations of surface creep on California faults, 2) constructs line integrals across the WG-07 deformation model to compare to the Pacific ? North America plate motion, and 3) constructs strain tensors of volumes across the WG-07 deformation model to compare to the Pacific ? North America plate motion. Observation of creep on faults is a critical part of our earthquake rupture model because if a fault is observed to creep the moment released as earthquakes is reduced from what would be inferred directly from the fault?s slip rate. There is considerable debate about how representative creep measured at the surface during a short time period is of the whole fault surface through the entire seismic cycle (e.g. Hudnut and Clark, 1989). Observationally, it is clear that the amount of creep varies spatially and temporally on a fault. However, from a practical point of view a single creep rate is associated with a fault section and the reduction in seismic moment generated by the fault is accommodated in seismic hazard models by reducing the surface area that generates earthquakes or by reducing the slip rate that is converted into seismic energy. WG-07 decided to follow the practice of past Working Groups and the National Seismic Hazard Map and used creep rate (where it was judged to be interseismic, see Table P1) to reduce the area of the fault surface that generates seismic events. In addition to following past practice, this decision allowed the Working Group to use a reduction of slip rate as a separate factor to accommodate aftershocks, post seismic slip, possible aseismic permanent deformation along fault zones and other processes that are inferred to affect the entire surface area of a fault, and thus are better modeled as a reduction in slip rate. C-zones are also handled by a reduction in slip rate, because they are inferred to include regions of widely distributed shear that is not completely expressed as earthquakes large enough to model. Because the ratio of the rate of creep relative to the total slip rate is often used to infer the average depth of creep, the ?depth? of creep can be calculated and used to reduce the surface area of a fault that generates earthquakes in our model. This reduction of surface area of rupture is described by an ?aseismicity factor,? assigned to each creeping fault in Appendix A. An aseismicity factor of less than 1 is only assigned to faults that are inferred to creep during the entire interseismic period. A single aseismicity factor was chosen for each section of the fault that creeps by expert opinion from the observations documented here. Uncertainties were not determined for the aseismicity factor, and thus it represents an unmodeled (and difficult to model) source of error. This Appendix simply provides the documentation of known creep, the type and precision of its measurement, and attempts to characterize the creep as interseismic, afterslip, transient or triggered. Parts 2 and 3 of this Appendix compare the WG-07 deformation model and the seismic source model it generates to the strain generated by the Pacific - North American plate motion. The concept is that plate motion generates essentially all of the elastic strain in the vicinity of the plate boundary that can be released as earthquakes. Adding up the slip rates on faults and all others sources of deformation (such as C-zones and distributed ?background? seismicity) should approximately yield the plate motion. This addition is usually accomplished by one of four approaches: 1) line integrals that sum deformation along discrete paths through the deforming zone between the two plates, 2) seismic moment tensors that add up seismic moment of a representative set of earthquakes generated by a crustal volume spanning the plate boundary, 3) strain tensors generated by adding up the strain associated with all of the faults in a crustal volume spanning the plate

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Compilation of Surface Creep on California Faults and Comparison of WGCEP 2007 Deformation Model to Pacific-North American Plate Motion
Series title:
Open-File Report
Series number:
Version 1.0
Year Published:
Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s):
Earthquake Hazards Program
43 p.
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title:
Appendix P in The Uniform California Earthquake Rupture Forecast, Version 2 (UCERF 2)