Space geodetic investigation of the coseismic and postseismic deformation due to the 2003 Mw7.2 Altai earthquake: Implications for the local lithospheric rheology

TitleSpace geodetic investigation of the coseismic and postseismic deformation due to the 2003 Mw7.2 Altai earthquake: Implications for the local lithospheric rheology
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsBarbot S, Hamiel Y, Fialko Y
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Volume113
PaginationB03403
ISBN Number0148-0227
Keywords0594 Computational Geophysics: Instruments and techniques, 1207 Geodesy and Gravity: Transient deformation, 1236 Geodesy and Gravity: Rheology of the lithosphere and mantle, 1241 Geodesy and Gravity: Satellite geodesy: technical issues, 1294 Geodesy and Gravity: Instruments and techniques, geodesy along-track InSAR, inversion, postseismic deformation
Abstract

We use Envisat Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar data and SPOT optical imagery to investigate the coseismic and postseismic deformation due to the 27 September 2003, M w 7.2 Altai earthquake, which occurred in the Chuya Basin near the Russia-China-Mongolia border. On the basis of the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and SPOT data, we determined the rupture location and developed a coseismic slip model for the Altai earthquake. The inferred rupture location is in a good agreement with field observations, and the geodetic moment from our slip model is consistent with the seismic moment determined from the teleseismic data. While the epicentral area of the Altai earthquake is not optimal for radar interferometry (in particular, due to temporal decorrelation), we were able to detect a transient signal over a time period of 3 years following the earthquake. The signal is robust in that it allows us to discriminate among several commonly assumed mechanisms of postseismic relaxation. We find that the postearthquake interferometric SAR data do not warrant poroelastic rebound in the upper crust. The observed deformation also disagrees with linear viscoelastic relaxation in the upper mantle or lower crust, giving rise to a lower bound on the dynamic viscosity of the lower crust of the order of 1019 Pa s. The data can be explained in terms of fault slip within the seismogenic zone, on the periphery of areas with high coseismic slip. Most of the postseismic deformation can be explained in terms of seismic moment release in aftershocks; some shallow slip may have also occurred aseismically. Therefore the observed postseismic deformation due to the Altai earthquake is qualitatively different from deformation due to other similarly sized earthquakes, in particular, the Landers and Hector Mine earthquakes in the Mojave desert, southern California. The observed variations in the deformation pattern may be indicative of different rheologic structure of the continental lithosphere in different tectonically active areas.