Slip distribution, strain accumulation and aseismic slip on the Chaman Fault system

Monday, 14 December 2015
Poster Hall (Moscone South)
Falk Amelug, University of Miami, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Miami, FL, United States
The Chaman fault system is a transcurrent fault system developed due to the oblique convergence of the India and Eurasia plates in the western boundary of the India plate. To evaluate the contemporary rates of strain accumulation along and across the Chaman Fault system, we use 2003-2011 Envisat SAR imagery and InSAR time-series methods to obtain a ground velocity field in radar line-of-sight (LOS) direction. We correct the InSAR data for different sources of systematic biases including the phase unwrapping errors, local oscillator drift, topographic residuals and stratified tropospheric delay and evaluate the uncertainty due to the residual delay using time-series of MODIS observations of precipitable water vapor. The InSAR velocity field and modeling demonstrates the distribution of deformation across the Chaman fault system. In the central Chaman fault system, the InSAR velocity shows clear strain localization on the Chaman and Ghazaband faults and modeling suggests a total slip rate of ~24 mm/yr distributed on the two faults with rates of 8 and 16 mm/yr, respectively corresponding to the 80% of the total ~3 cm/yr plate motion between India and Eurasia at these latitudes and consistent with the kinematic models which have predicted a slip rate of ~17-24 mm/yr for the Chaman Fault. In the northern Chaman fault system (north of 30.5N), ~6 mm/yr of the relative plate motion is accommodated across Chaman fault. North of 30.5 N where the topographic expression of the Ghazaband fault vanishes, its slip does not transfer to the Chaman fault but rather distributes among different faults in the Kirthar range and Sulaiman lobe. Observed surface creep on the southern Chaman fault between Nushki and north of City of Chaman, indicates that the fault is partially locked, consistent with the recorded M<7 earthquakes in last century on this segment. The Chaman fault between north of the City of Chaman to North of Kabul, does not show an increase in the rate of strain accumulation. However, lack of seismicity on this segment, presents a significant hazard on Kabul. The high rate of strain accumulation on the Ghazaband fault and lack of evidence for the rupture of the fault during the 1935 Quetta earthquake, present a growing earthquake hazard to the Balochistan and the populated areas such as the city of Quetta.