Surface slip during large Owens Valley earthquakes

E. K. Haddon, C. B. Amos, Olaf Zielke, A. S. Jayko, R. Burgmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

The 1872 Owens Valley earthquake is the third largest known historical earthquake in California. Relatively sparse field data and a complex rupture trace, however, inhibited attempts to fully resolve the slip distribution and reconcile the total moment release. We present a new, comprehensive record of surface slip based on lidar and field investigation, documenting 162 new measurements of laterally and vertically displaced landforms for 1872 and prehistoric Owens Valley earthquakes. Our lidar analysis uses a newly developed analytical tool to measure fault slip based on cross-correlation of sublinear topographic features and to produce a uniquely shaped probability density function (PDF) for each measurement. Stacking PDFs along strike to form cumulative offset probability distribution plots (COPDs) highlights common values corresponding to single and multiple-event displacements. Lateral offsets for 1872 vary systematically from approximate to 1.0 to 6.0 m and average 3.31.1 m (2 sigma). Vertical offsets are predominantly east-down between approximate to 0.1 and 2.4 m, with a mean of 0.80.5 m. The average lateral-to-vertical ratio compiled at specific sites is approximate to 6:1. Summing displacements across subparallel, overlapping rupture traces implies a maximum of 7-11 m and net average of 4.41.5 m, corresponding to a geologic M-w approximate to 7.5 for the 1872 event. We attribute progressively higher-offset lateral COPD peaks at 7.12.0 m, 12.8 +/- 1.5 m, and 16.6 +/- 1.4 m to three earlier large surface ruptures. Evaluating cumulative displacements in context with previously dated landforms in Owens Valley suggests relatively modest rates of fault slip, averaging between approximate to 0.6 and 1.6 mm/yr (1 sigma) over the late Quaternary.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2239-2269
Number of pages31
JournalGeochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Volume17
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 22 2016

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