Strain Partitioning and Localization within Dobe Graben Using Differential Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (D-INSAR) and Shuttle Radar Terrain Model

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Zelalem S Demissie1, Mohamed G Abdelsalam2, Jeffrey M Byrnes2 and Dave Bridges3, (1)Oklahoma State University Main Campus, Stillwater, OK, United States, (2)Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, United States, (3)Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Rolla, MO, United States
The Dobe graben is a northwestern trending, Quaternary continental rift found within the east-central block of the Afar Depression (AD), Ethiopia. The AD is one of only few places where three active tectonic rift arms meet on land. Extensional rifting is ongoing in the Dobe graben as evident by the 1989 swarm of intermediate magnitude (5.7 < Ms < 6.3) earthquakes. Dobe graben extension occurs on steeply dipping faults, where the maximum displacement, fault length, heave and spacing spans in three orders of magnitude. Crustal deformation within the graben was measured through ascending and descending interferograms using the Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar (ASAR), C- Band (l = 5.6 cm) of the ENVISAT satellite. Results from the Differential Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (D-INSAR) over a period of four years (05/20/2005 to 03/05/2010) suggests that the vertical component of deformation is distributed along a 50 km long NW trending zone in the Dobe graben. The vertical component of deformation is -0.5 to -0.3 cm along the graben axial rift floor likely representing subsidence due to riftingand +0.6 cm to 0.9 cm at the middle of the Dobe relay zone due to uplifting along the border escarpment faults. An estimate for the extension rate has been calculated from twelve traverses across the Dobe graben using Shuttle Rader Terrain Model (SRTM). Results show a deformation elongation (e) value ranging from 0.225 to 0.348. A fractal dimension of 0.03 from the graben floor was obtained for the measured population of fault throws (n= 162) in 12 traverses totaling 172 km. This value is interpreted to represent the dominant contribution to extension from faults with large throw. Moreover, frequency distribution of a natural fault population along the graben floor revealed a negative exponential law distribution indicating a strong strain partitioning within the active axial graben floor. A fractal dimension of 0.01 from the graben shoulder escarpment was obtained for the measured population of fault throws (n= 30) in 12 traverses totaling 48 km revealed a negative power fit distribution indicated a strong strain localization by the graben boarder faults.