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Published March 2021 | public
Journal Article Open

The rigidity of the western Arabian margin: extensional strain rate field from GPS networks


Previous analysis of the deformation field of the Arabian margin using then the available network of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) stations found that an assumption of a rigid Arabia satisfied the observations as reported by ArRajehi et al. (Tectonics 29, no. 3, 2010). However, an Mw 5.4 intra-plate earthquake occurred in 2009 in the Alshaqqah Harrat as discussed by Pallister et al. (Nature Geoscience 3, no. 10:705, 2010) suggesting that there is ongoing active deformation within the western Arabian margin. We evaluate the Arabian margin deformation field using an expanded network totaling 87 GPS stations distributed within Saudi Arabia. With the addition of these GPS stations, we found evidence of extensional strain within the Arabian margin, in regions that were unsampled by the previous geodetic networks. Although, due to the short time series, the signal at these new GPS sites is very close to the limit of the resolution, this study provides the first indication, derived from GPS velocities, of the location and extent of active internal deformation within the Arabian plate.

Additional Information

© 2021 Saudi Society for Geosciences. Received 27 July 2020; Accepted 16 February 2021; Published 01 March 2021. We acknowledge the Saudi General Commission for Survey for providing GPS data used in this study. This research was supported by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. Many of the figures were produced using GMT (Wessel and Smith, 1991). The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023