Short-term tectonics: Constraints on viscoelastic structure of continents from hydrological cycles
The mechanical properties of the lithosphere control the long-term evolution of the India-Eurasia collision and affect the redistribution of stress during the earthquake cycle, impacting fault segmentation, the timing of earthquake nucleation and the initial conditions for rupture. The deformation associated with the hydrological cycle in South Asia, monitored by the GRACE satellite, provides a new way to constrain the viscoelastic structure of the lithosphere with unprecedented spatial resolution and coverage.
The deformation of the Earth’s surface can be evaluated with sophisticated numerical models and compared with GPS time series to identify the underlying structure. The method provides a novel way to image the viscoelastic properties of the lithosphere. The spatial resolution of this new imaging technique can be continuously improved by the extension and densification of the GPS network across South Asia, improvement of GRACE and GPS data processing, and the development of more sophisticated and dedicated inverse methods.
The goal of the study is to generate an unprecedented tomography of the elastic and viscoelastic properties of the lithosphere in South Asia.