What are the slip rates of the major faults of Tibet?

Tim Wright(1) , Barry Parsons(1) , Philip England(1) , Zhenhong Li(2) , Anthony Sibthorpe(2) , Marek Ziebart(2) , and Eric Fielding(3)

(1) COMET, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Oxford, Parks Road, OX1 3PR, United Kingdom
(2) COMET, Department of Geomatic Engineering, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, United Kingdom
(3) Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech, California 91109, United States


The slip rates of the major faults in Tibet are poorly known and the subject of considerable controversy. For example, recent geological estimates of the slip rate of the Karakoram Fault suggest a rate of 10+/-1 mm/yr -- considerably faster than the rates estimated by GPS (3+/-5 mm/yr) or InSAR (1+/-3 mm/yr). On the Altyn Tagh Fault, slip rate estimates from offset quaternary features range between 20 and 30 mm/yr, compared with geodetic estimates of ~10 mm/yr or less. There are three possible explanations for the differences between geodetic and geological slip rates: (i) geodetic slip rates are wrong, (ii) geological slip rates are wrong, or (iii) slip rates vary with time. In this presentation, we will review the reliability of geodetic and geological results and present new InSAR observations from central and western Tibet. In addition, we will discuss the requirements of ongoing and future SAR missions for determining fault slip rates.



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