Parts of the Imperial and the Superstition Hills faults moved right-laterally at the ground surface at the time of or shortly following the ML 5.6 Westmorland earthquake of 26 April 1981. The displacements occurred prior to any significant aftershocks on either fault and thus are classed as sympathetic. Although the main shock was located in an exceptionally seismogenic part of Imperial Valley, about 20 km distant from either fault, no clear evidence of surface faulting has yet been found in the epicentral area. Horizontal displacement on the Imperial and Superstition Hills faults, southeast and southwest of the epicenter, respectively, reached maxima of 8 mm and 14 mm, and the discontinuous surface ruptures formed along approximately equal lengths of northern segments of the two structures (16.8 km and 15.7 km, respectively). The maximum vertical component of slip on the Imperial fault, 6 ram, was observed 3.4 km north of the point of largest horizontal slip. Vertical movement on the Superstition Hills fault was less than 1 mm. No new displacement was found along the traces of the Brawley fault zone, the San Andreas fault, or the part of the Coyote Creek fault that slipped during the 1968 Borrego Mountain earthquake. A careful search in the epicentral area of the main shock failed to locate any definite evidence of surface faulting. Concentrations of late aftershocks north and northeast of Calipatria near the southeastward projection of the San Andreas fault occurred mostly after our field check; this area was not investigated.
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USGS Numbered Series
Surface displacement on the Imperial and Superstition Hills faults triggered by the Westmorland, California, earthquake of 26 April 1981