The San Bernardino basin is an area of Quaternary extension between the San Jacinto and San Andreas Fault zones in southern California. New gravity data are combined with aeromagnetic data to produce two- and three-dimensional models of the basin floor. These models are used to identify specific faults that have normal displacements. In addition, aeromagnetic maps of the basin constrain strike-slip offset on many faults. Relocated seismicity, focal mechanisms, and a seismic reflection profile for the basin area support interpretations of the gravity and magnetic anomalies. The shape of the basin revealed by our interpretations is different from past interpretations, broadening its areal extent while confining the deepest parts to an area along the modern San Jacinto fault, west of the city of San Bernardino. Through these geophysical observations and related geologic information, we propose a model for the development of the basin. The San Jacinto fault-related strike-slip displacements started on fault strands in the basin having a stepping geometry thus forming a pull-apart graben, and finally cut through the graben in a simpler, bending geometry. In this model, the San Bernardino strand of the San Andreas Fault has little influence on the formation of the basin. The deep, central part of the basin resembles classic pull-apart structures and our model describes a high level of detail for this structure that can be compared to other pull-apart structures as well as analog and numerical models in order to better understand timing and kinematics of pull-apart basin formation. Copyright 2004 by the American Geophysical Union.
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Structural model of the San Bernardino basin, California, from analysis of gravity, aeromagnetic, and seismicity data