Mechanical Analysis of Fault Slip Rate Sites within the San Gorgonio Pass Region, Southern California USA

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Jennifer Hatch
Michele Cooke
Hanna Elston


Earthquake hazard assessments rely on observations from the field and geophysical data that provide fault slip rate estimates at specific sites and inform the geometry of active faults; however, uncertainty remains for both slip rate and geometry. Furthermore, incompatibilities between inferred fault geometry and geologic slip rates arise within crustal deformation models where model and geologic slip rates disagree. The impact of these incompatibilities may be local to sites or have wider effect on the fault system deformation. Here, we investigate the roles of structural position of sites and uncertainty of slip rates using three-dimensional mechanical models that simulate deformation across many earthquake cycles along southern San Andreas fault near the San Gorgonio Pass in California. Within the models, the impact of strike-slip rate sites on the fault system depends on their structural positions. Slip rates at sites along short and segmented faults has lesser impact on the slip along the fault system than either slip rates at sites along longer faults or at sites within fault branches. Consequently, inaccuracies in the slip rate estimates used for seismic hazard assessment may have differing impacts on the fault system depending on location and structural position of the slip rates. Fault branches along strike-slip faults warrant detailed investigation not only because these areas have high spatial variability of slip rate and accrue nearby off-fault deformation but also because changes in slip rates along branches has larger impact on deformation along fault system than other sites. Lack of data or large uncertainty in slip rate data from fault branches can affect our ability to accurately assess seismic hazard of the region.

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