The Coachella Valley area was strongly shaken by the 1992 Joshua Tree (23 April) and Landers (28 June) earthquakes, and both events caused triggered slip on active faults within the area. Triggered slip associated with the Joshua Tree earthquake was on a newly recognized fault, the East Wide Canyon fault, near the southwestern edge of the Little San Bernardino Mountains. Slip associated with the Landers earthquake formed along the San Andreas fault in the southeastern Coachella Valley. Surface fractures formed along the East Wide Canyon fault in association with the Joshua Tree earthquake. The fractures extended discontinuously over a 1.5-km stretch of the fault, near its southern end. Sense of slip was consistently right-oblique, west side down, similar to the long-term style of faulting. Measured offset values were small, with right-lateral and vertical components of slip ranging from 1 to 6 mm and 1 to 4 mm, respectively. This is the first documented historic slip on the East Wide Canyon fault, which was first mapped only months before the Joshua Tree earthquake. Surface slip associated with the Joshua Tree earthquake most likely developed as triggered slip given its 5 km distance from the Joshua Tree epicenter and aftershocks. As revealed in a trench investigation, slip formed in an area with only a thin (<3 m thick) veneer of alluvium in contrast to earlier documented triggered slip events in this region, all in the deep basins of the Salton Trough. A paleoseismic trench study in an area of 1992 surface slip revealed evidence of two and possibly three surface faulting events on the East Wide Canyon fault during the late Quaternary, probably latest Pleistocene (first event) and mid- to late Holocene (second two events). About two months after the Joshua Tree earthquake, the Landers earthquake then triggered slip on many faults, including the San Andreas fault in the southeastern Coachella Valley. Surface fractures associated with this event formed discontinuous breaks over a 54-km-long stretch of the fault, from the Indio Hills southeastward to Durmid Hill. Sense of slip was right-lateral; only locally was there a minor (~1 mm) vertical component of slip. Measured dextral displacement values ranged from 1 to 20 mm, with the largest amounts found in the Mecca Hills where large slip values have been measured following past triggered-slip events.
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Triggered surface slips in the Coachella Valley area associated with the 1992 Joshua Tree and Landers, California, Earthquakes