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Surface Fractures Formed in the Potrero Canyon, Tapo Canyon, and McBean Parkway Areas in Association with the 1994 Northridge, California Earthquake

Miscellaneous Field Studies Map 2360

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Abstract

INTRODUCTION The magnitude 6.7 (M6.7) Northridge earthquake of 17 January 1994 strongly shook the Los Angeles urban region, resulting in 33 direct deaths, more than 20,000 people forced out of their homes, and an estimated $20 billion in damage (Hall, 1994). The earthquake was caused by slip on a previously unrecognized south-dipping fault buried beneath the San Fernando Valley. Slip on the fault propagated from a depth of about 19 km to about 8 km below the ground surface (USGS and SCEC, 1994). Although there was no surface faulting associated with the causative fault, surface fractures did develop along at least one fault (Mission Wells fault) and also in areas without recognized faults (Hart and others, 1995; Hecker and others, 1995a, 1995b; Rymer and others, 1995; Treiman, 1995). The term 'surface fractures' is used herein to describe ground breakage that is not associated with primary faulting or with triggered, secondary, surface faulting on a deep seismogenic fault. This report describes fault- and nonfault-related surface fractures that occurred at three sites, Potrero Canyon, Tapo Canyon, and the McBean Parkway area, 22 to 28 km north-northwest of the main shock (Fig. 1). Investigation of these sites documents far reaching effects of even moderately large earthquakes. Study of such effects has become increasingly important with further urbanization and development. Hecker and others (1995a, 1995b) documented the distribution of surface deformation associated with the Northridge earthquake in the Granada Hills area. The search for surface faulting and surface fracturing was initiated within hours of the earthquake. Both ground and airborne searches were made of the region. After fresh surface fractures were found in Potrero Canyon, aerial photographs were taken of the area (including the McBean Parkway site) by I.K. Curtis, on 21 January 1994, at scales of about 1:2,000 and 1:6,000. These aerial photographs were studied under high magnification to supplement ground-based observations of surface fractures.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Surface Fractures Formed in the Potrero Canyon, Tapo Canyon, and McBean Parkway Areas in Association with the 1994 Northridge, California Earthquake
Series title:
Miscellaneous Field Studies Map
Series number:
2360
Edition:
-
Year Published:
2001
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s):
Western Earthquake Hazards
Description:
Map: 50 x 35 inches
Scale:
4000