Far-reaching transient motions after Mojave earthquakes require broad mantle flow beneath a strong crust

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Abstract

[1] Geodetically observed postseismic surface displacements in the 7 years following the 1999 Hector Mine earthquake demonstrate a previously unrecognized broad pattern of transient deformation throughout southern California and into Nevada, more than 200 km from the epicenter. Unlike previous postseismic observations in which trade-offs between postseismic mechanisms and the depth of flow lead to non-unique solutions, this deformation pattern can only be explained by viscoelastic flow in a region of the mantle 100s of km wide and below a depth of 40 km. This result enables two robust conclusions regarding the nature of lithospheric strength in this region: the mantle is weaker than the lower crust, and flow occurs over a wide region of mantle as opposed to within a narrow shear zone beneath the fault.

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