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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Historical and modern seismotectonics of the Indian plate with an emphasis on its western boundary with the Eurasian plate
by Szeliga, W. M., Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2010, 193; 3419545
Abstract (Summary)

The western edge of the Indian plate is a transform plate boundary similar to the San Andreas Fault in that it lies mostly on land, has a similar expected slip rate, accommodates restraining bends, and contains segments that may slip aseismically by surface creep. Tectonic models of the western edge of India must also account for the absence of significant seismic moment release in the past century along the Chaman Fault, the transform boundary between Asia and India. I discuss modern and historical data from India and Pakistan that provide new constraints on deformation within this 100–250 km wide plate boundary. Geological and plate-closure estimates suggest sinistral slip of 19–35 mm/yr since the Oligocene across the Chaman Fault system. Analysis of space-based geodetic data suggests a prevalence of shallow locking depths and an upper limit of approximately 19.5 mm/yr of sinistral motion across the Chaman Fault System south of Afghanistan. In the past century, the region between the Chaman Fault System and the Indus Plain near Quetta, Pakistan, has experienced numerous earthquakes with a larger total moment release than an equivalent length of the Himalaya in the same period, comparable to a single Mw 8:0. Of this moment release, 90% has occurred more than 70 km east of the Chaman fault. In this region, GPS data have captured slip partitioning across the plate boundary suggesting that long-term sinistral slip is shared between the Chaman and Ghazaband fault systems. Additionally, a combination of GPS and InSAR analysis of a pair of Mw 6:4 earthquakes NE of Quetta in 2008 suggests that they occurred on a parallel pair of sinistral faults, rather than the dextral mechanism suggested by their NW-SE trending fault planes. I find that “bookshelf faulting” occurs in a zone NE of Quetta that includes several previous instrumental and historical earthquakes. This geodetic view of deformation in Pakistan differs from that derived from the instrumental seismic record, but is consistent with the sparse historical record of earthquakes in the past two millennia, and has important implications for assessment of seismic hazards in Pakistan.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Bilham, Roger, Molnar, Peter
Commitee: Anderson, Robert, Hough, Susan, Jones, Craig
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Geology
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-B 71/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Geology, Geophysics
Keywords: Chaman fault, Eurasian plate, Gps, Indian plate, Insar, Lands, Seismicity, Slip rate
Publication Number: 3419545
ISBN: 978-1-124-19549-0
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