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Bridging Earthquakes & Earth Structure

Spatial distributions of crustal deformation and fault zone morphology divulge the behavior and evolution of fault zones on timescales ranging from seconds to millions of years.

Fault scarps – topographic steps created at the Earth’s surface – are evidence of past displacement or aseismic motion along faults. We detect scarps and measure the height and relative ages of scarp-like landforms using a distributed template matching algorithm applied to large digital topographic datasets.

Geologic and geodetic measurements of deformation record the behavior of fault zones in Earth’s crust to far-field loading on vastly different timescales. We hypothesize that differences between geologically and geodetically measured crustal displacements may reflect the constitutive laws in operation over these different timescales. While geodetic measurements capture interseismic elastic bending in response to far-field loading, geologic observations of deformation record the accrued effect of the relaxation of these stresses by yielding.

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