Paleogeodesy of the Southern Santa Cruz Mountains Frontal Thrusts, Silicon Valley, CA
Thursday, 17 December 2015: 13:40
302 (Moscone South)
We present a method to infer long-term fault slip rate distributions using topography by coupling a three-dimensional elastic boundary element model with a geomorphic incision rule. In particular, we used a 10-m-resolution digital elevation model (DEM) to calculate channel steepness (ksn) throughout the actively deforming southern Santa Cruz Mountains in Central California. We then used these values with a power-law incision rule and the Poly3D code to estimate slip rates over seismogenic, kilometer-scale thrust faults accommodating differential uplift of the relief throughout geologic time. Implicit in such an analysis is the assumption that the topographic surface remains unchanged over time as rock is uplifted by slip on the underlying structures. The fault geometries within the area are defined based on surface mapping, as well as active and passive geophysical imaging. Fault elements are assumed to be traction-free in shear (i.e., frictionless), while opening along them is prohibited. The free parameters in the inversion include the components of the remote strain-rate tensor (εij) and the bedrock resistance to channel incision (K), which is allowed to vary according to the mapped distribution of geologic units exposed at the surface. The nonlinear components of the geomorphic model required the use of a Markov chain Monte Carlo method, which simulated the posterior density of the components of the remote strain-rate tensor and values of K for the different mapped geologic units. Interestingly, posterior probability distributions of εij and K fall well within the broad range of reported values, suggesting that the joint use of elastic boundary element and geomorphic models may have utility in estimating long-term fault slip-rate distributions. Given an adequate DEM, geologic mapping, and fault models, the proposed paleogeodetic method could be applied to other crustal faults with geological and morphological expressions of long-term uplift.