Open Access

On the determination of a global strain rate model

  • Corné Kreemer1Email author,
  • John Haines2,
  • William E. Holt1,
  • Geoffrey Blewitt3 and
  • David Lavallee4
Earth, Planets and Space201452:BF03352279

Received: 28 December 1999

Accepted: 13 June 2000

Published: 24 June 2014


The objective of this paper is to outline the fundamental concepts underlying the estimation of a global strain rate model. We use a variant of the method first introduced by Haines and Holt (1993) to estimate the strain rate tensor field within all of the Earth’s deforming regions. Currently the observables used are ~1650 geodetic velocities, seismic moment tensors from the Harvard CMT catalog, and Quaternary fault slip rate data. A model strain rate field and velocity field are obtained in a least-squares fit to both the geodetic velocities and the observed strain rates inferred from fault slip rates. Seismic moment tensors are used to provide a priori constraints on the style and direction (not magnitude) of the model strain rate field for regions where no fault slip rate data are available. The model will soon be expanded to include spreading rates, ocean transform azimuths, and more fault slip rate data. We present a first estimate of the second invariant of the global model strain rate field. We also present Euler poles obtained by fitting geodetic vectors located on defined rigid plates. We find that 17% of the total model moment rate is accommodated in zones of (diffuse) continental deformation.