Time-dependent model of aseismic slip on the central San Andreas Fault from InSAR time series and repeating earthquakes

M. Khoshmanesh, Manoochehr Shirzaei, R. M. Nadeau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The Central segment of San Andreas Fault (CSAF) is characterized by a nearly continuous right-lateral aseismic slip. However, observations of the creep rate obtained using small characteristically repeating earthquakes (CREs) show pulses of creep along the CSAF, which may indicate spatially and temporally variable seismic hazard along the CSAF. Therefore, the goal of this study is to obtain a high-resolution time-dependent model of creep along the CSAF to examine this hypothesis. To this end, we apply a time-dependent creep modeling approach, which combines interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) surface deformation time series and observations of fault creep obtained from CREs. The SAR data set includes C band scenes acquired by the ERS-2 and Envisat satellites between 2003 and 2011. The resulting creep rate distribution implies a peak rate up to 32 mm/yr along the central part of the CSAF. Afterslip due to the 2004 Parkfield earthquake on the southeastern segment of the CSAF is also manifest in the model, and there is clear evidence of creep pulsing along strike and depth of the CSAF. Estimated annual rate of slip deficit accumulation is equivalent to a magnitude 5.6-5.7 earthquake. Taking advantage of the time-dependence of our model, we also refine the scaling relationship, which associates the released seismic moment due to a CRE event with the amount of creep on the fault, surrounding the CRE patches. This study provides the first kinematic model of creep pulsing, constrained using geodetic and seismic data, which can enhance time-dependent seismic hazard maps and improve earthquake operational forecast models. Key Points Providing the first geodetic evidence for creep pulsing on the CSAF Refining the scaling relationship used to infer the CRE creep Modeling distribution of afterslip due to the 2004 Parkfield earthquake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6658-6679
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015


  • InSAR
  • central San Andreas Fault
  • creep modeling
  • creep pulsing
  • repeating earthquakes
  • time dependent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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