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Holocene paleoseismicity, temporal clustering, and probabilities of future large (M > 7) earthquakes on the Wasatch fault zone, Utah

Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth

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Abstract

The chronology of M>7 paleoearthquakes on the central five segments of the Wasatch fault zone (WFZ) is one of the best dated in the world and contains 16 earthquakes in the past 5600 years with an average repeat time of 350 years. Repeat times for individual segments vary by a factor of 2, and range from about 1200 to 2600 years. Four of the central five segments ruptured between ??? 620??30 and 1230??60 calendar years B.P. The remaining segment (Brigham City segment) has not ruptured in the past 2120??100 years. Comparison of the WFZ space-time diagram of paleoearthquakes with synthetic paleoseismic histories indicates that the observed temporal clusters and gaps have about an equal probability (depending on model assumptions) of reflecting random coincidence as opposed to intersegment contagion. Regional seismicity suggests that for exposure times of 50 and 100 years, the probability for an earthquake of M>7 anywhere within the Wasatch Front region, based on a Poisson model, is 0.16 and 0.30, respectively. A fault-specific WFZ model predicts 50 and 100 year probabilities for a M>7 earthquake on the WFZ itself, based on a Poisson model, as 0.13 and 0.25, respectively. In contrast, segment-specific earthquake probabilities that assume quasi-periodic recurrence behavior on the Weber, Provo, and Nephi segments are less (0.01-0.07 in 100 years) than the regional or fault-specific estimates (0.25-0.30 in 100 years), due to the short elapsed times compared to average recurrence intervals on those segments. The Brigham City and Salt Lake City segments, however, have time-dependent probabilities that approach or exceed the regional and fault specific probabilities. For the Salt Lake City segment, these elevated probabilities are due to the elapsed time being approximately equal to the average late Holocene recurrence time. For the Brigham City segment, the elapsed time is significantly longer than the segment-specific late Holocene recurrence time.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Holocene paleoseismicity, temporal clustering, and probabilities of future large (M > 7) earthquakes on the Wasatch fault zone, Utah
Series title:
Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
Volume
101
Issue:
3
Year Published:
1996
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
First page:
6233
Last page:
6253
Number of Pages:
21