Cluster analysis offers a simple visual exploratory tool for the initial investigation of regional Global Positioning System (GPS) velocity observations, which are providing increasingly precise mappings of actively deforming continental lithosphere. The deformation fields from dense regional GPS networks can often be concisely described in terms of relatively coherent blocks bounded by active faults, although the choice of blocks, their number and size, can be subjective and is often guided by the distribution of known faults. To illustrate our method, we apply cluster analysis to GPS velocities from the San Francisco Bay Region, California, to search for spatially coherent patterns of deformation, including evidence of block-like behavior. The clustering process identifies four robust groupings of velocities that we identify with four crustal blocks. Although the analysis uses no prior geologic information other than the GPS velocities, the cluster/block boundaries track three major faults, both locked and creeping.
Additional publication details
Using cluster analysis to organize and explore regional GPS velocities
Geophysical Research Letters
American Geophysical Union
Geology, Minerals, Energy and Geophysics Science Center