Slip-Rate Measurements on the Karakorum Fault May Imply Secular Variations in Fault Motion

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Science  21 Jan 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5708, pp. 411-414
DOI: 10.1126/science.1105466

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Beryllium-10 surface exposure dating of offset moraines on one branch of the Karakorum Fault west of the Gar basin yields a long-term (140- to 20-thousand-year) right-lateral slip rate of ∼10.7 ± 0.7 millimeters per year. This rate is 10 times larger than that inferred from recent InSAR analyses (∼1 ± 3 millimeters per year) that span ∼8 years and sample all branches of the fault. The difference in slip-rate determinations suggests that large rate fluctuations may exist over centennial or millennial time scales. Such fluctuations would be consistent with mechanical coupling between the seismogenic, brittle-creep, and ductile shear sections of faults that reach deep into the crust.

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