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Earth Surface & Interior

Across southern Alaska the northwest directed motion of the Pacific plate is accompanied by migration and collision of the Yakutat terrane to continental Alaska. The nature and magnitude of this translation and accretion on upper crustal faults and folds is poorly constrained due to complex variations in the style of tectonic deformation, pervasive and changing glaciation, and logistical challenges of conducting field studies in formidable topography. Here, we propose to analyze new high-resolution lidar data to extract locations, geometry, and heights of seismogenic faults and zones of active folding across the Malaspina-Seward-Bagley region of southern Alaska plate boundary that is hypothesized to accommodate upper crustal shortening and right-lateral slip. Additionally, we propose to use the morphology and dynamics of glaciers derived from L-Band SAR ice velocities to infer the large scale sub-ice structures that form the structural framework of the Seward-Bagley basins. Secondly, we will use high resolution lidar to quantify the spatial extent and variations in elevations of coastal terraces. Then, by using numerical model predictions, we will distinguish between recent elevation changes associated with earthquakes and tectonic uplift and solid Earth changes due to glacial fluctuations. To achieve EarthScope and NASA Earth Surface Interior objectives we will exploit geodetic imaging to (1) estimate the nature and amount of slip on uppercrustal faults and folds and use these results to address the implications for earthquake hazard in southern Alaska and (2) quantify the spatial and temporal variations in the long-term uplift rate from marine terrace heights and explore linkages between tectonics and glacial fluctuations. Also, the results of our study will promote the NASA Strategic goal (3A) to study Earth from space to advance scientific understanding by expanding the applications for satellite multi-beam lidar and InSAR observations.

Project PI: Jeanne Sauber/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Planetary Geodynamics Laboratory NASA/GSFC, Code 698 Greenbelt, MD 20771

Phone: (301) 614-6465

Fax: (301) 614-6522

Email: Jeanne.M.Sauber_Rosenberg@nasa.gov

http://core2.gsfc.nasa.gov/personal_pages/sauber/sauber.html

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Started: Aug 09, 2010

Last Activity: Dec 09, 2010

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