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Gondwana Research 22 (2012) 1068 – 1072 Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect Gondwana Research

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Gondwana Research

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/gr

Research journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/gr Rigid Indian plate: Constraints from GPS measurements P.

Rigid Indian plate: Constraints from GPS measurements

P.

Mahesh a , , J.K. Catherine a , V.K. Gahalaut a , Bhaskar Kundu a , A. Ambikapathy a , Amit Bansal a ,

L.

Premkishore a , M. Narsaiah a , Sapna Ghavri a , R.K. Chadha a , Pallabee Choudhary b , D.K. Singh c ,

S.K. Singh c , Subhash Kumar c , B. Nagarajan c , B.C. Bhatt d , R.P. Tiwari e , Arun Kumar f ,

Ashok Kumar g , Harsh Bhu h , S. Kalita i

a National Geophysical Research Institute (CSIR), Hyderabad 500007, India

b Institute of Seismological Research, Ahmedabad, India

c Survey of India, Hyderabad, India

d Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Kodaikanal, Tamilnadu, India

e Department of Geology, Mizoram University, Aizwal, India

f Department of Earth Sciences, Manipur University, Imphal, India

g Department of Physics, Tezpur University, Tezpur, India

h Department of Geology, Sukhadia University, Udaipur, India

i Department of Environmental Sciences, Guwahati University, Guwahati, India

article info

Article history:

Received 27 September 2011 Received in revised form 11 January 2012 Accepted 13 January 2012 Available online 14 February 2012

Handling Editor: A. Aitken

Keywords:

Global positioning system India Plate motion Euler pole Lithospheric plate interiors Failed rift regions

abstract

We analyze GPS data from 26 sites located on the Indian plate and along its boundary. The large spatial coverage of the Indian plate by these sites and longer data duration helped us in rening the earlier estimates of the Euler pole for the Indian plate rotation. Our analysis suggests that the internal deformation of the Indian plate is very low (b 12 mm/year) and the entire plate interior region largely behaves as a rigid plate. Specically, we did not infer any signicant difference in motion on sites located north and south of the Narmada Son failed rift region, the most prominent tectonic feature within the Indian plate and a major source of earthquakes. Our analysis also constrains the motion across the Indo-Burmese wedge, Himalayan arc, and Shillong Plateau and Kopili fault in the NE India. © 2012 International Association for Gondwana Research. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction

Precise estimation of plate motion improves our understanding of plate dynamics that governs plate boundary deformation, regional neo- tectonics, earthquake occurrence processes, and stability of plate interior regions. The geodetic methods, particularly the GPS measurement, have become very effective tool in characterizing plate motion and crustal de- formation. However, it requires good number of evenly distributed obser- vation sites on and across the plate to constrain its motion. In the past 10 years, several permanent GPS sites have been established in the Indian region. We use these data to estimate the plate motion and to assess the rigidity of the plate. In the past, a few such efforts have been made. Most of the previous studies used GPS data in the stable Indian region from two sites only, namely HYDE and IISC (Sella et al., 2002; Bettinelli et al., 2006). Hence these studies were conned to estimate the plate motion at global

Corresponding author. E-mail address: mahesh.purushotham@gmail.com (P. Mahesh).

scale and relative motion between two plates at plate boundaries. Jade et al. (2007) used GPS data from ve sites within the plate interior from 2003 to 2006. The data from two sites, namely, IISC at Bangalore and DELH at Delhi, were for the period from 1997/98 to 2006. All the sites used by them are located along a northsouth transect and there is not much coverage in the eastwest direction. Banerjee et al. (2008) used the most comprehensive data set from 12 GPS sites located in the Indian plate interior. Along with the estimation of the Euler pole for the Indian plate motion, they opined that the almost eastwest trending Narmada Son failed rift zone accommodates about 2±1 mm year 1 of shortening in the northsouth direction. Here in this article, we analyze the GPS data from more than 26 GPS sites in the Indian plate region (Fig. 1) to con- strain the Indian plate motion, to assess the stability of the Indian plate and to estimate the deformation in the plate boundary regions.

2. GPS data and analysis

We processed the GPS data from continuous GPS sites of the Indian National GPS network along with the campaign data of good quality and

1342-937X/$ see front matter © 2012 International Association for Gondwana Research. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. doi: 10.1016/j.gr.2012.01.011

P. Mahesh et al. / Gondwana Research 22 (2012) 1068 1072

1069

et al. / Gondwana Research 22 (2012) 1068 – 1072 1069 Fig. 1. GPS site velocities

Fig. 1. GPS site velocities in Indian reference frame. Relatively larger error ellipse at a few sites (e.g. at Delhi, DELH) is due to less duration of the data. Note very low deformation within the plate interiors. NSFR, Narmada Son failed rift; PGFR, Pranhita Godavari failed rift; SP, Shillong Plateau; KF, Kopili fault; IBW, Indo-Burmese wedge. Earthquakes (M 4) are shown with pink circles from the USGS catalogue.

longer duration collected from the Indian plate interior regions. The campaign mode GPS sites are occupied annually for at least 3 days. The continuous and campaign mode GPS observations of 26 sites (Fig. 1) from 2003 to 2011 are processed together with 21 IGS sites (namely, BAHR, COCO, DARW, DGAR, GUAM, HYDE, HRAO, IISC, KARR, KIT3, KUNM, LHAS, LHAZ, MALD, MALI, PERT, POL2, SELE, SEY1, WUHN and URUM) surrounding the Indian plate and available from the Scripps Orbital and Positioning Centre (SOPAC). We used GAMIT, version 10.4 (Herring et al., 2010a,b), to estimate the time series of site coordinates and their velocities. The site position estimates and their rates were estimated in ITRF2008 (Altamimi et al., 2011) by stabi- lizing more stable continuous sites and core IGS reference sites using GLOBK, GLORG (Herring et al., 2010a,b). Coseismic corrections were applied to remove the coseismic offsets from the GPS sites that were affected by the 26 December 2004 SumatraAndaman earthquake (Mw 9.2). In the supplementary gure the correction applied to IISC time series is demonstrated. Station velocity uncertainties are estimated using site specic estimate of white noise and an assumed random walk noise of 0.75 mm year 1/2 (Mao et al., 1999). The velocity uncertainties are not signicantly affected by applying the random walk. Indian refer- ence frame is realized by determining the plate rotation parameters that minimize the velocities of 13 sites which include 10 continuous and 3 campaign mode GPS sites, all representing the stable Indian plate located far away from the deforming boundary regions.

3. Results

We estimated the velocity at sites located on the Indian plate and estimated the Euler pole of Indian plate rotation by stabilizing the site velocity of 13 sites on the stable India plate region. Our estimated pole of rotation for the Indian plate is located at 51.41± 0.07°N, 8.97± 0.8°E with an angular velocity of 0.539±0.002°/Myr. Such a

pole gives a velocity of 54.05± 0.1 mm year 1 towards N49.4° at HYDE IGS site. The pole is located about 8° east of the previous esti- mates of the Euler poles and hence closer to the Indian plate. At the same time there is about 13% increase in the angular velocity as com- pared to that by Banerjee et al. (2008) (Table 1). To assess the reliabil- ity of our estimated pole, we estimated the average root mean square residuals after subtracting the predicted motion of the Indian plate corresponding to the estimated Euler pole from the GPS derived ve- locity for the sites in the stable India plate region ( Fig. 1). We did it for all the previous studies using their estimates of site velocity and Euler pole. We found that in our case the average residual with 0.76 mm year 1 was the minimum. In case of Banerjee et al. (2008) and Jade et al. (2007), we found average residual as 1.71 and 3.47 mm year 1 , respectively. Such an analysis assured us that the

Table 1 Comparison of Euler poles for Indian plate motion.

Euler pole

Latitude

Longitude

Angular velocity

Reference

°N

°E

Degree/Myr

India/ITRF2008

51.4± 0.07

8.9± 0.8

0.539± 0.002

Present study

India/ITRF2000

52.9± 0.21

0.2± 3.7

0.499± 0.008

Banerjee et al. (2008)

India/ITRF2000

51.7± 0.5

15.1± 1.5

0.469± 0.01

Jade et al. (2007)

India/ITRF2000

51.4± 1.6

10.9± 5.6

0.483± 0.01

Bettinelli et al. (2006)

India/ITRF2000

50.9± 5.1

12.1± 0.6

0.486± 0.001

Socquet et al. (2006)

India/ITRF1997

53.7

13.9

0.483

Sella et al. (2002)

India/ITRF2000

53.1

2.2

0.519± 0.019

SOPAC Website

1070

P. Mahesh et al. / Gondwana Research 22 (2012) 1068 1072

Table 2 Estimated velocity at sites in ITRF08 and Indian reference frame.

Site

ITRF 2008

Indian reference frame

 

Long.

Lat.

Ve

Vn

Sig.E

Sig.N

Ve

Vn

RHO

LUMA

94.475

26.22

37.78

23.36

0.14

0.13

3.07

13.95

0.007

IMPH

93.925

24.749

30.47

19.77

0.15

0.14

10.81

17.51

0.012

TZPR

92.78

26.618

41.14

26.78

0.13

0.12

0.95

10.42

0.011

AZWL

92.73

23.724

35.11

29.01

0.59

0.44

6.26

8.2

0.03

SHIL

91.885

25.566

39.26

30.93

0.29

0.26

1.13

6.21

0.01

GWHT

91.661

26.153

40.02

29.53

0.14

0.13

0.05

7.59

0.007

BHUB

85.792

20.263

37.9

37.55

0.16

0.15

3.21

1.11

0.018

ALHB

81.808

25.309

37.8

36.54

0.37

0.34

0.04

0.79

0.038

PLVM

81.645

17.273

40.48

35.37

0.36

0.31

1.06

0.36

0.061

GSIL

80.943

26.891

34.95

37.15

0.14

0.13

1.73

1.57

0.01

JBPR

79.876

23.129

39.09

34.29

0.23

0.21

0.68

1.08

0

TONK

79.602

19.51

39.31

34.9

0.3

0.27

0.83

0.41

0.048

HANL

78.973

32.779

28.11

28.91

3.44

3.31

4.52

6.26

0.049

HYDE

78.551

17.417

41.06

35.2

0.15

0.14

0.15

0.12

0.027

DEHR

78.055

30.325

33.9

34.07

0.25

0.25

0.06

0.88

0.028

RSCL

77.6

34.128

24.7

20.29

0.3

0.29

6.6

14.56

0.053

IISC

77.57

13.021

42.4

35.19

0.13

0.12

0.28

0.33

0.017

KDKL

77.465

10.232

43.92

34.49

0.28

0.24

0.13

0.35

0.021

BHOP

77.447

23.209

37.35

34.31

0.23

0.2

0.43

0.51

0.023

DELH

77.126

28.482

31.96

36.36

0.59

0.52

2.72

1.63

0.017

ARKW

73.939

17.23

40.62

34.63

0.19

0.17

0.44

0.71

0.011

PUNE

73.882

18.558

40.55

34.17

0.33

0.27

1.06

0.27

0.016

GOKL

73.727

17.4

40.48

34.17

0.13

0.12

0.42

0.31

0.011

UDAI

73.713

24.58

36.05

34.17

0.27

0.25

0.05

0.32

0.027

IITB

72.916

19.133

38.56

33.43

0.15

0.14

0.44

0.19

0.02

ISRG

72.66

23.215

36.13

32.35

0.21

0.19

0.53

1.2

0.013

IGS sites

DGAR

72.37

7.27

47.37

33.55

0.13

0.13

1.3

0.07

0.031

KIT3

66.885

39.135

27.76

4.91

0.11

0.11

3.79

26.77

0.03

SEY1

55.479

4.674

25.03

11.46

0.13

0.12

23.84

15.7

0.094

BAHR

50.608

26.209

30.54

29.99

0.15

0.14

0.69

5.13

0.012

MALI

40.194

2.996

25.45

16.52

0.2

0.18

23.09

2.89

0.15

HRAO

27.687

25.89

18.14

18.92

0.19

0.2

39.52

6.91

0.214

GUAM

144.868

13.589

9.9

5.71

0.13

0.12

61.81

20.35

0.169

DARW

131.133

12.844

35.51

59.87

0.12

0.11

5.86

28.17

0.065

KARR

117.097

20.981

38.9

58.41

0.11

0.11

0.8

22.84

0.059

PERT

115.885

31.802

39.41

57.08

0.13

0.12

5.19

21.29

0.045

WUHN

114.357

30.532

31.6

12.55

0.12

0.11

13.88

48.62

0.002

KUNM

102.797

25.03

30.56

19.23

0.13

0.12

13.06

56.58

0.006

COCO

96.834

12.188

45.29

52.89

0.17

0.15

0.89

15.48

0.072

LHAS

91.104

29.657

46.58

15.42

0.11

0.1

8.26

21.66

0.037

LHAZ

91.104

29.657

46.58

15.42

0.11

0.1

8.26

21.66

0.037

URUM

87.601

43.808

32.66

4.2

0.21

0.22

3.82

32.45

0.078

SELE

77.017

43.179

28.08

3.52

0.1

0.11

3.33

31.16

0.005

POL2

74.694

42.68

27.2

4.07

0.1

0.11

3.02

30.02

0.016

MALD

73.526

4.189

50.41

36.6

0.5

0.37

4.77

2.79

0.066

Euler pole estimated by us is the most appropriate and represents plate motion all over the Indian plate. The velocities of sites in the stable Indian region in Indian reference frame are quite small (Fig. 1 and Table 2), suggesting low internal deformation of the plate interior regions which is below the resolution of present day uncertainties asso- ciated with the geodetic data (b 12 mm/year). A few sites located near the plate boundary region show differential movement consistent with the convergence accommodated at that plate boundary (Figs. 1 and 2).

4. Discussions

4.1. Internal deformation of the plate interiors

The plate interior regions of the Indian plate experience minimum deformation, which causes rare occurrence of earthquakes in these regions. Important of these earthquakes that occurred in recent past are the 1993 Latur earthquake (Mw 6.2), 1997 Jabalpur earthquake (Mw 5.8), and 2001 Bhuj earthquake (Mw 7.6). The last two of these earthquakes occurred in the failed rift regions within the stable Indian plate. Occurrence of these earthquakes may imply rapid

deformation of Indian plate. Paul et al. (1995) reoccupied the triangu- lation monuments of 1860s in south India using GPS and suggested no signicant shear strain. Using repeat GPS measurements of a few sites in the stable India region, Paul et al. (2001) estimated northsouth shortening strain rate as low as 26 × 10 9 /year. Recently, Banerjee et al. (2008) tested the hypothesis that the Indian plate motion can be described by two plates wherein the east west trend- ing Narmada Son failed rift zone across the central India segments the plate in two parts, although they found that such a model better t the data but statistically it was not signicant ( Banerjee et al., 2008). We also tested the hypothesis of two plate model and found that it does not improve the data tting in any signicant way and hence we suggest that the Narmada Son failed rift zone or any other fault or the failed rift in the Indian plate do not segment the plate in two or more plates. Specically, we did not nd any signicant change in velocity in northsouth direction (Fig. 2 ), i.e. across the Narmada Son failed rift zone in the Indian plate. The Indian plate motion can be best described by a single Euler pole and the plate be- haves as a rigid plate with low strain accumulation which is below the resolution of present day geodetic data ( Figs. 1 and 3 ). We suggest

P. Mahesh et al. / Gondwana Research 22 (2012) 1068 1072

1071

et al. / Gondwana Research 22 (2012) 1068 – 1072 1071 Fig. 2. A north –

Fig. 2. A north south transect showing north south component of the site velocity in the Indian reference frame. All the sites within the plate interior regions (south of Delhi) show velocity less than ±2 mm/year (shown with gray shading), suggesting that the plate behaves as a rigid plate and the strain accumulation rate, if any, is below the resolution of present day GPS observations. There is no apparent deformation across NSFR. RSCL is located to the north of the Higher Himalaya and its site motion represents surface convergence rate across the Himalaya. DEHR, though located in the Outer Himalaya, shows negligible velocity, suggesting strain accumulation on the subsurface detachment. Sites located in the deforming NE India region are enclosed in a rectangle. Note relative motion between TZPR and GWHT suggesting motion across the Kopili fault. Relative motion between IMPH and AZWL represents accommodation of part of the relative motion between India and Sunda plates. About 6±1.5 mm/year of convergence is accommodated between Shillong plateau and Indian plate.

that the occasional occurrence of earthquakes in the plate interiors and in the failed rift regions is due to the localized deformation, prob- ably caused by weak rheology, and such deformation does not affect the velocity at sites located far from the earthquake region ( Mazzotti, 2007 ). Thus, although the failed rifts of the Indian plate

2007 ). Thus, although the failed rifts of the Indian plate Fig. 3. Residuals of site

Fig. 3. Residuals of site velocity in Indian reference frame for the sites located in the stable Indian plate which are stabilized to estimate Euler pole of rotation for the Indian plate. The circle represents velocity of ±2 mm/year. Residual velocity at all the sites is less than 2 mm/year and is close to 1 mm/year, which indicates that the Indian plate is rigid and there is very little deformation in the plate interior regions and across major tectonic structures.

are the locales of earthquakes, they do not affect the Indian plate motion and do not segment the plate in two or more plates.

4.2. Motion across plate boundary regions

4.2.1. Motion across the Indo-Burmese wedge

The predominantly northward motion of about 36 mm/year of the India plate with respect to the Sunda plate along its eastern boundary in the NE India ( Socquet et al., 2006) is accommodated through dextral motion along the Sagaing fault in the east and in the Indo- Burmese wedge in the west. A few sites located in the Indo-Burmese wedge indicate such motion. The plate boundary in the Indo-Burmese wedge appears to be between Aizwal and Imphal sites and it accommo- dates about 16±2 mm year 1 of dextral motion (Figs. 1 and 2) (Kundu et al., submitted for publication). Such a motion is consistent with the earthquake occurrence in the region (Kundu and Gahalaut, 2012).

4.2.2. Deformation in the Shillong Plateau region

The Shillong plateau is assumed to accommodate some of the IndiaEurasia plate motion which is evident from previous GPS mea- surements ( Jade et al., 2007; Banerjee et al., 2008), occurrence of the great 1897 Shillong Plateau earthquake (Mw 8; Bilham and England, 2001) and low temperature thermometry data ( Clark and Bilham, 2008). Previous GPS measurements suggested 47 mm/year southward motion of the Shillong plateau in India xed reference frame. We also obtained a similar velocity (about 6±1.5 mm year 1 ) of sites located on and north of the Shillong plateau (Fig. 1). It is to be ascertained whether the motion across the Shillong Plateau affects convergence in the Himalayan region and whether the low seismicity in the Bhutan region (immediately north of the Shillong Plateau) is due to such process (Gahalaut et al., 2011).

4.2.3. Kopili fault

A prominent fault, referred as the Kopili fault, is located between

the Shillong Plateau and Mikir hills, the two main topographic

1072

P. Mahesh et al. / Gondwana Research 22 (2012) 1068 1072

features of the region. The approximately northwestsoutheast ori- ented lineament is considered to be seismically active and extends up to the Himalaya in the north ( Kayal et al., 2006 ). The two GPS sites, GWHT and TZPR, separated by a distance of about 120 km, are located on either sides of the Kopili fault. These sites show differential motion of about 3.0± 1.5 mm year 1 and imply dextral motion on the northwest southeast trending fault. The geodetically inferred motion across the Kopili fault is consistent with the earthquake focal mechanisms in the region. Two focal mechanism solutions are available in the Harvard CMT catalogue corresponding to earthquakes on October 5, 1999 (Mw 5.2) and February 23, 2006 (Mw 5.4) which oc- curred close to the Kopili fault (within 2530 km). Additionally, Kayal et al. (2010) reported focal mechanism of an earthquake which occurred on August 19, 2009 (Mw 5.1) on Kopili fault. All these focal mechanisms are quite similar to each other and indicate dextral motion on the NW- SE oriented nodal plane. Thus the GPS derived differential motion on the Kopili fault is consistent with the earthquake focal mechanisms. This is the rst geodetic evidence in support of the active Kopili fault.

4.2.4. Himalayan arc One of the sites (RSCL at Leh) is located north of the Higher Himalaya and shows a motion of about 16.2±0.2 mm year 1 with respect to the Indian plate. This rate is consistent with the estimate of Holocene rate of convergence of about 18 mm year 1 accommodated in the Himalaya (Molnar, 1990; Bilham et al., 1997; Avouac, 2003). The other site (DEHR) located in the Outer Himalaya shows negligible motion with respect to India, suggesting that the detachment under the Outer and Lesser Himalaya is locked and is accumulating strain (Banerjee and Bürgmann, 2002) for future large Himalayan earthquake.

5. Conclusions

Our analysis of the GPS data from various sites located on the Indian plate results in estimation of a new and improved Euler pole of rotation for the Indian plate which is located at 51.44±0.07°N, 8.9±0.8°E with an angular velocity of 0.539±0.002°/Myr. We nd that the internal de- formation across the plate and across major structures within the plate interior regions is very low (b 12 mm/year) and the plate behaves as a single rigid plate. Motion at sites located in the Indo-Burmese wedge along the eastern boundary of the Indian plate suggests that part of the IndiaSunda motion is accommodated in the Indo-Burmese wedge as dextral motion. The sites across the Shillong plateau show a relative convergence of about 6±1.5 mm year 1 with respect to the Indian plate. A well known fault in the region, the Kopili fault, also shows dextral motion of 3±1.5 mm year 1 . Sense of motion across this fault is consistent with the earthquake focal mechanisms. Motion at sites located in the Himalaya arc is consistent with the Holocene con- vergence rate of about 18 mm/year and model of strain accumulation on the Himalayan detachment.

Acknowledgements

Comments from Roland Bürgmann and two anonymous reviewers helped us in improving the article. We acknowledge nancial support from Seismology Division, MoES. We thank Survey of India, Dehradun for providing GPS data from several sites.

Appendix A. Supplementary data

Supplementary data to this article can be found online at doi:10.

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