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Publication . Article . 2018

Does Long-Term GPS in the Western Alps Finally Confirm Earthquake Mechanisms?

Walpersdorf, A.; Pinget, L.; Vernant, P.; Sue, C.; Deprez, A.; Baize, Stéphane; Bascou, Pascale; +48 Authors
Open Access
Published: 01 Oct 2018
Publisher: HAL CCSD
Country: France
International audience; The availability of GPS survey data spanning 22 years, along with several independent velocity solutions including up to 16 years of permanent GPS data, presents a unique opportunity to search for persistent (and thus reliable) deformation patterns in the Western Alps, which in turn allow a reinterpretation of the active tectonics of this region. While GPS velocities are still too uncertain to be interpreted on an individual basis, the analysis of range-perpendicular GPS velocity profiles clearly highlights zones of extension in the center of the belt (15.3 to 3.1 nanostrain/year from north to south), with shortening in the forelands. The contrasting geodetic deformation pattern is coherent with earthquake focal mechanisms and related strain/stress patterns over the entire Western Alps. The GPS results finally provide a reliable and robust quantification of the regional strain rates. The observed vertical motions of 2.0 to 0.5 mm/year of uplift from north to south in the core of the Western Alps is interpreted to result from buoyancy forces related to postglacial rebound, erosional unloading, and/or viscosity anomalies in the crustal and lithospheric root. Spatial decorrelation between vertical and horizontal (seismicity related) deformation calls for a combination of processes to explain the complex present-day dynamics of the Western Alps.
Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Induced seismicity Horizontal and vertical Deformation (mechanics) Satellite geodesy Tectonics Global Positioning System business.industry business Geodetic datum Lithosphere Geodesy Geology


[SDU.STU.TE]Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Earth Sciences/Tectonics, [ SDU.STU.TE ] Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Earth Sciences/Tectonics, [ SDU.STU.GP ] Sciences of the Universe [physics]/Earth Sciences/Geophysics [physics.geo-ph], Geochemistry and Petrology, Geophysics, [ INFO.INFO-TS ] Computer Science [cs]/Signal and Image Processing, [ PHYS.PHYS.PHYS-DATA-AN ] Physics [physics]/Physics [physics]/Data Analysis, Statistics and Probability [], [ PHYS.PHYS.PHYS-GEO-PH ] Physics [physics]/Physics [physics]/Geophysics [physics.geo-ph]

Funded by
EPOS Implementation Phase
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 676564
  • Funding stream: H2020 | RIA
Validated by funder
Réseau sismologique et géodésique français : l'équipement fondamental
  • Funder: French National Research Agency (ANR) (ANR)
  • Project Code: ANR-11-EQPX-0040
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