• Altyn Tagh fault slip rate;
  • continental deformation;
  • InSAR interseismic

[1] The interseismic strain across the Altyn Tagh Fault at 85°E has been measured using 59 interferograms from 26 ERS-1/2 SAR acquisitions on a single track for the period 1993–2000. Using an atmospheric delay correction that scales linearly with height, we estimate the left-lateral strike-slip motion to be 11 ±1σ 5 mm/yr, assuming no relative vertical motion and a 15 km fault locking depth. This is in agreement with sparse GPS measurements. The atmospheric delay corrections agree well with coarse contemporaneous modelled weather data, reinforcing the importance of correcting for atmospheric delays in InSAR studies of interseismic strain accumulation, particularly in areas of high topographic relief that strongly correlate with the expected tectonic signal. We also find that, in addition to the tropospheric water vapour ‘wet’ delay, the hydrostatic ‘dry’ delay makes a significant contribution to the signal.