Livermore researchers have determined the Karakorum fault in Tibet, a feature formed by the same tectonic "collision" that caused the recent tsunami, has slipped 10 millimeters per year during the last 140,000 years.
This space shuttle photo looks south from the Tarim Basin in the foregound across the western Kunlun range and on to the Indian subcontinent in the distance. The two major faults of western Tibet, the Karakax and the Karakorum faults, are clearly seen as linear features cutting across the image. Photo: Earth Sciences and Image Analysis/NASA-Johnson Space Center
Earlier research by outside scientists using satellite radar interferometry (InSAR) conducted over a decadal time scale indicated that the Karakorum fault and the Karakax segment of the Altyn Tagh fault in western Tibet are essentially inactive.
But Livermore scientists Rick Ryerson, Marie-Luce Chevalier (a visiting student from the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris), and Bob Finkel, along with colleagues in France and China, studied Karakorum movement along a single strand of the fault system over a millennial time scale and found the slip to be 10 times larger than that of the slip rate across the entire fault from the InSAR data.
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