Building Objective 3D Fault Representations in Active Tectonic Settings

TitleBuilding Objective 3D Fault Representations in Active Tectonic Settings
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsRiesner M, Durand-Riard P, Hubbard J, Plesch A
JournalSeismological Research Letters
Date Published05/2017

Developing 3D representations of active faults is an important step to improve seismic-hazard assessment. However, the geometries of faults can be difficult to constrain at depth, and building representations is often subjective. We present a new objective workflow to build 3D fault geometries from surface and subsurface data that are generally available in active tectonic environments. We use surface traces, focal mechanism orientations, and relocated hypocenters as geological constraints in an implicit modeling approach. This method enables us to control the weights assigned to the different constraints, increasing the accuracy of the fault model. We evaluate and refine our method by applying it to a well-known natural case study: the Puente Hills thrust fault, a blind thrust beneath Los Angeles, California, that is imaged by high-quality seismic reflection data and that generated the 1987 M-w 6.0 Whittier Narrows earthquake. Then, we apply our new workflow to the Xianshuihe-Anninghe left-lateral strike-slip fault systems, China. Implementing this workflow allows for the development of improved fault surface representations that can contribute to Community Fault Models and support fault system modeling, rupture simulations, and regional hazard assessments.