We describe the three-dimensional geometry and Quaternary slip history of the Puente Hills blind-thrust system (PHT) using seismic reflection profiles, petroleum well data, and precisely located seismicity. The PHT generated the 1987 Whittier Narrows (moment magnitude [Mw] 6.0) earthquake and extends for more than 40 km along strike beneath the northern Los Angeles basin. The PHT comprises three, north-dipping ramp segments that are overlain by contractional fault-related folds. Based on an analysis of these folds, we produce Quaternary slip profiles along each ramp segment. The fault geometry and slip patterns indicate that segments of the PHT are related by soft-linkage boundaries, where the fault ramps are en echelon and displacements are gradually transferred from one segment to the next. Average Quaternary slip rates on the ramp segments range from 0.44 to 1.7 mm/yr, with preferred rates between 0.62 and 1.28 mm/yr. Using empirical relations among rupture area, magnitude, and coseismic displacement, we estimate the magnitude and frequency of single (Mw 6.5-6.6) and multisegment (Mw 7.1) rupture scenarios for the PHT.
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Puente Hills blind-thrust system, Los Angeles, California