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Durham University

Department of Earth Sciences

Profile

Publication details for Dr Richard Walters

Hussain, E., Wright, T. J., Walters, R. J., Bekaert, D. P. S., Lloyd, R. & Hooper, A. (2018). Constant strain accumulation rate between major earthquakes on the North Anatolian Fault. Nature Communications 9(1): 1392.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Earthquakes are caused by the release of tectonic strain accumulated between events. Recent advances in satellite geodesy mean we can now measure this interseismic strain accumulation with a high degree of accuracy. But it remains unclear how to interpret short-term geodetic observations, measured over decades, when estimating the seismic hazard of faults accumulating strain over centuries. Here, we show that strain accumulation rates calculated from geodetic measurements around a major transform fault are constant for its entire 250-year interseismic period, except in the ~10 years following an earthquake. The shear strain rate history requires a weak fault zone embedded within a strong lower crust with viscosity greater than ~1020 Pa s. The results support the notion that short-term geodetic observations can directly contribute to long-term seismic hazard assessment and suggest that lower-crustal viscosities derived from postseismic studies are not representative of the lower crust at all spatial and temporal scales.