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New approaches to an old problem: addressing spatial gaps in the World Stress Map...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Geological Society, London, Special Publications
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 22

A well-recognized characteristic of the World Stress Map (WSM) database is the continued presence of large spatial gaps in the distribution of the data records despite the more than 40-year development history of the database. The current release has more than 30 000 high-quality (A–C) data records (often referred to as ‘stress indicators’), but while some continental areas (such as Australia) have seen a significant increase in spatial converge with the latest release, other continental regions (Africa, central Asia, most of South America) remain markedly sparse. In this contribution we (1) review the current state of the spatial distribution of stress indicators in the continental regions (above sea-level); (2) quantify the clustering of the stress indicators in the latest WSM release using the Hopkins statistic as a way to explore the current spatial distribution of the indicators and assess future WSM releases; and (3) present three approaches (joint inversion, seismic anisotropy and InSAR) that provide a way to fill in the gaps (both in the SHmax orientation and principal stress magnitudes) in regions that lack active seismicity and where borehole drilling is cost prohibitive. These three approaches have the potential to guide procedures for improving a priori estimates of the ambient stress field in the Earth's crust and reduce the uncertainty in predicting both the magnitude and orientation of the principal tectonic stresses.