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Deformation associated with faulting within geologic and interseismic timescales

Scott T Marshall, University of Massachusetts Amherst


This dissertation consists of several distinct studies that use numerical modeling to better constrain deformation due to faulting over disparate timescales. Field mapping reveals a segment of the Lake Mead fault system, the Pinto Ridge fault, and a cluster of west-dipping normal faults located near Pinto Ridge. I suggest that this strike-slip segment was kinematically related to the Bitter Spring Valley fault, created the normal fault cluster at Pinto Ridge, and utilized these normal faults as linking structures between fault segments. Modeling results demonstrate that the location and orientations of the normal faults are consistent with having formed in the perturbed stress field around the slipping Pinto Ridge fault. Calculations of mechanical efficiency suggest that a preferred dip of normal faults in the region may reflect a crustal anisotropy at depth, such as a detachment. I present a methodology for simulating interseismic deformation in complex regions. I derive an analytical model of interseismic deformation that is equivalent to the conventional model. Based on this model, I formulate a two-step numerical simulation of geologic and interseismic deformation. I apply this technique to the Los Angeles region and find that model results match well both geologic slip rate estimates and geodetic velocities. Model results suggest that the Puente Hills thrusts are currently slipping at rates that are compatible with geologic estimates and that localized contraction in the San Gabriel basin is dominantly due to deep slip on the Sierra Madre fault. To assess the control of fault geometry and mechanical interactions on fault slip in a natural system, I create models of the Ventura region, California, using both planar and non-planar faults. I find that incorporating geologically-constrained fault surfaces into numerical models results in a better match to available geologic slip rate data than models utilizing planar faults. Because slip rates at most locations along the surface traces of Ventura faults are not likely to represent average values for the entire fault surface, I propose that well-constrained models can be used to predict slip rates at specific locations and determine whether existing slip rate estimates are representative of average fault slip rates.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Marshall, Scott T, "Deformation associated with faulting within geologic and interseismic timescales" (2008). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3325250.