Present-day kinematics of the eastern Tibetan Plateau and Sichuan Basin: Implications for lower crustal rheology
The Sichuan Province comprises the cratonic Sichuan Basin and the eastern Tibetan Plateau separated by the recently activated Longmen Shan fault zone, thus providing a natural laboratory to study interseismic and postseismic processes. In this work we compute a new regional geodetic velocity solution from most of the continuous Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)/GPS data available in the Sichuan Province that we assess for transient postseismic deformation. For 11 continuous sites in close proximity to the Wenchuan 2008 event epicenter that were operational during the Wenchuan event we find an average short-term relaxation time of 11 days with maximum amplitude of 6.6 mm for the postseismic transient and no resolvable long-term transient. Using tests for block rigidity guided by previous kinematic studies we elucidate a longer-term transient in GNSS/GPS observations collected after the Wenchuan event that spans an extensive region of the eastern Tibetan Plateau. We correct for transients, produce an updated secular velocity field, and revise the kinematics of the region using elastic block modeling. Our results indicate that predicted slip rates are in good agreement with both geological and GNSS/GPS velocity profile-derived results, and we resolve two independent blocks with the expanded GNSS/GPS data set. Our constraints on the spatial extent of long-term postseismic deformation support models of ductile lower crust in the eastern margin of the Tibetan Plateau.