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Date:7/12/2013

ability could induce creep along part of the San Andreas fault
Laetitia Le Pourhiet, Universit Pierre-et-Marie-Curie-Paris 06, Institut des Sciences de la Terre Paris F-75005, France; and Jason Saleeby. First published on 11 July 2013, http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G34244.1.

The 150 km long portion of the San Andreas located north of Parkfield (California, USA) is exempt of large destructive earthquakes. Until now, scientists have focused their research on characterizing the properties of rocks located inside that portion of the fault to explain this anomaly. Le Pourhiet and Saleeby alternatively propose that the lack of large earthquakes is caused by an anomaly in external loading. The heavy root of the Sierra Nevada Mountains was indeed ripped off into the earth mantle 3 to 4 million years ago and still remained attached like an anchor to the Great Valley plate today. With the help of numerical models, they show that the load exerted by this anchor causes the plate to bulge at a location that matches the location and extent of the silent portion of the fault. They proposed this bulged area favors geometrically the formation of large patches of over-pressured water into the rocks. In a similar manner as a car undergoing aquaplaning, the fault portion located within this bulge therefore lacks adherence allowing the Pacific and American plates to slide past each other continuously with no earthquakes.


Slab flattening trigger for isotopic disturbance and magmatic flare-up in the southernmost Sierra Nevada batholith, California
Alan D. Chapman et al., Department of Geosciences, University of Arizona, 1040 E. 4th Street, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA. First published on 11 July 2013, http://dx.doi.org/10.1130/G34445.1

Deep exposures into the crust of Southern California permit examination of a
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Contact: Kea Giles
kgiles@geosociety.org
Geological Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

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