Surface fracturing occurred along the San Andreas fault, the subparallel Southwest Fracture Zone, and six secondary faults in association with the 28 September 2004 (M 6.0) Parkfield earthquake. Fractures formed discontinuous breaks along a 32-km-long stretch of the San Andreas fault. Sense of slip was right lateral; only locally was there a minor (1-11 mm) vertical component of slip. Right-lateral slip in the first few weeks after the event, early in its afterslip period, ranged from 1 to 44 mm. Our observations in the weeks following the earthquake indicated that the highest slip values are in the Middle Mountain area, northwest of the mainshock epicenter (creepmeter measurements indicate a similar distribution of slip). Surface slip along the San Andreas fault developed soon after the mainshock; field checks in the area near Parkfield and about 5 km to the southeast indicated that surface slip developed more than 1 hr but generally less than 1 day after the event. Slip along the Southwest Fracture Zone developed coseismically and extended about 8 km. Sense of slip was right lateral; locally there was a minor to moderate (1-29 mm) vertical component of slip. Right-lateral slip ranged from 1 to 41 mm. Surface slip along secondary faults was right lateral; the right-lateral component of slip ranged from 3 to 5 mm. Surface slip in the 1966 and 2004 events occurred along both the San Andreas fault and the Southwest Fracture Zone. In 1966 the length of ground breakage along the San Andreas fault extended 5 km longer than that mapped in 2004. In contrast, the length of ground breakage along the Southwest Fracture Zone was the same in both events, yet the surface fractures were more continuous in 2004. Surface slip on secondary faults in 2004 indicated previously unmapped structural connections between the San Andreas fault and the Southwest Fracture Zone, further revealing aspects of the structural setting and fault interactions in the Parkfield area.
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Surface fault slip associated with the 2004 Parkfield, California, earthquake