Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Plate boundary deformation of the Pacific plate : two case studies Public Deposited

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  • Two examples of Pacific rim plate boundary deformation are presented. In the first part of the thesis crustal models are derived for the northwestern part of the Vizcaino block in California using marine seismic and gravity data collected by the Mendocino Triple Junction Seismic Experiment. A northwest-southeast trending kink in the Moho is imaged and interpreted to have formed under compression by reactivation of preexisting thrust faults in the paleoaccretionary prism at the seaward margin of the Vizcaino block. The study suggests that the deformation resulted from mainly north-south compression between the Pacific-Juan de Fuca plates across the Mendocino transform fault and predates late Pliocene Pacific-North America plate convergence. In the second part, 195 earthquakes recorded during the duration of the Southern Alps Passive Seismic Experiment (SAPSE) are analysed. Precise earthquake locations and focal mechanisms provide unprecedented detail of the seismotectonics in the central South Island. The short term (6 month) SAPSE seismicity is compared with long term (8 years) seismicity recorded by the New Zealand National Seismic network and the Lake Pukaki network. The seismicity rate of the Alpine fault is low, but comparable to locked sections of the San Andreas fault, with large earthquakes expected. Changes of the depth of the seismogenic zone, generally uniform at about 10-12 km, occur only localised over distances smaller than 30 km, suggesting that thermal perturbations must be of similar scale. This implies that the thermal effects of the uplift of the Southern Alps do not change the seismogenic depth significantly and are not in accordance with most of the present thermal models. Both the Hope and Porters Pass fault zones are seismically active and deformation is accommodated near the fault zones and in the adjacent crust. North of Mt Cook, a triangular shaped region along the Alpine fault is characterised by absence of earthquakes. We interpret this as the result of the plate boundary shift from the Alpine fault to the Hope and Porters Pass fault zones. The study region shows distributed deformation in a 60-100 km wide zone on NNE-SSW trending thrust faults and strike-slip mechanisms on transfer faults.
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