USGS research finds new proof of San Andreas Fault earthquakes

This Temblor map exhibits three of the sections of the Southern San Andreas Fault. This new research passed off within the Huge Bend part. The blue pin marks the approximate research website location.


A brand new U.S. Geological Survey research provides a view into the previous conduct of huge earthquakes alongside the southern San Andreas Fault.

In a manuscript accepted for publication yesterday, new proof for 10 floor-rupturing earthquakes previous to 1857, alongside the Huge Bend of the Southern San Andreas Fault was introduced. The research, headed by Dr. Katherine Scharer on the USGS in Pasadena, examined the earthquake historical past of the San Andreas close to Frazier Mountain in northeast Kern County. This space final ruptured within the 1857 M=7.7-7.9 Fort Tejon earthquake.

One of many the reason why this location is of significance is as a result of in Southern California, the Massive Bend, Carrizo, and Mojave sections of the San Andreas Fault accommodate 50-70% of plate movement. Because of this the seismic hazard is excessive. Whereas the Mojave part to the south ruptures on common, each one hundred-one hundred thirty five years, by understanding extra concerning the general area, extra might be stated concerning the extent and magnitude of previous ruptures. Subsequently, by piecing collectively the earthquake historical past alongside numerous sections of the San Andreas, it’s the hope that the seismic hazard can be higher understood.


So as to full this research, over 30 trenches have been excavated, by which the structural and sedimentological evolution of the world could possibly be documented. The Frazier Mountain website alongside the San Andreas is a pull-aside basin, which means that by means of successive ruptures during the last 1200 years, the basin has grown and been ripped aside quite a few occasions, permitting for distinct earthquake horizons to type. These horizons typically seem as small tears, giant cracks, and/or folding. Due to this vary, the diploma of certainty as as to if a horizon has been discovered, varies. Nonetheless, at this website, eleven horizons courting again to 800 A.D. have been recognized. Such exact courting was completed by courting charcoal and plant stays discovered at every horizon.

Through the use of the timing of those prehistoric earthquakes, Dr. Scharer and her group decided that the typical interval between quakes alongside the Huge Bend part is roughly one hundred years. Nevertheless, intervals as brief as 22 years and so long as 186 years have been additionally famous. Moreover, sixty six% of the intervals are shorter than the present one, which sits at one hundred sixty years. It ought to be famous that the USGS forecasts there’s a sixteen% probability a M=7.5+ earthquake will strike this portion of the San Andreas within the subsequent 30 years. This new research introduced information suggesting that the majority earthquakes alongside the Huge Bend part are M=7.zero-7.5. Whereas quakes can exceed M=7.5, as was seen within the 1857 rupture, just one different earthquake within the final seven hundred years reached such a magnitude.

Along with figuring out the approximate interval and magnitude of earthquakes alongside the Massive Bend Part, the workforce was in a position use the earthquake document from the Mojave Part to find out different earthquake traits. By evaluating the timing of occasions alongside each sections, Dr. Scharer was capable of decide that at most, ruptures alongside the San Andreas span each the Mojave and Massive Bend sections, 50% of the time in M=7.three+ earthquakes.

General, this new proof for floor-rupturing earthquakes alongside the Massive Bend part of the San Andreas Fault offers helpful knowledge to find out how and when the fault ruptures. The traits seen within the fault listed here are just like different places alongside the San Andreas. Subsequently, hopefully as extra research like this are accomplished, we will achieve a higher understanding of the seismic hazard of the San Andreas Fault, “With a purpose to correctly design infrastructure, like highways, water and energy strains, in order that it could possibly survive the subsequent earthquake,” Scharer stated.

The above publish is reprinted from USGS Press Release


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