08 Jun 2022
08 Jun 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

How do differences in interpreting seismic images affect estimates of geological slip rates? An example of a shear fault-bend fold

Wan-Lin Hu Wan-Lin Hu
  • Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, 639798

Abstract. Uncertainties of geological structural geometry constructed based on seismic reflections can stem from data acquisition, processing, analysis, or interpretation. Especially uncertainties arising from structural interpretations and subsequent estimates of geological slip have been little quantified and discussed. To illustrate the implications of interpretation uncertainties for seismic potential and structural evolution, I use an example of a shear fault-bend fold in the Central Himalaya. I apply a simple solution from the kinematic model of shear fault-bend folding to resolve the geological slip, and then compare the result with a previous study to show how differences in structural interpretations could impact dependent conclusions. The findings show that only a little variance in interpretations owing to subjectivity and an unclear seismic image could yield geological slip rates differing by up to ~10 mm/yr, resulting in significantly different scenarios of seismic potential. To reduce unavoidable subjectivity, this study also suggests that the epistemic uncertainty in raw data should be included in interpretations and conclusions.

Wan-Lin Hu

Status: open (until 22 Jul 2022)

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Wan-Lin Hu

Wan-Lin Hu


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Short summary
Having a seismic image is generally expected to enable us to better determine fault geometry and thus can estimate geological slip rates accurately. However, the process of interpreting seismic images may introduce unintended uncertainties, which have not yet been widely discussed. Here, a case of a shear fault-bend fold in the frontal Himalaya is used to demonstrate how differences in interpretations can affect the following estimates of slip rates and dependent conclusions.