Radon emanation is known to be anomalously high along active faults in many parts of the world. We tested this relationship in California during July and early August 1992, using a portable radonmeter to conduct soil-air radon surveys at 5 sites across three kinds of faults: Creeping, locked, and freshly broken. Along a 350-m long survey line across a creeping segment of the San Andreas fault at Nyland Ranch in San Juan Bautista, we found anomalous radon concentrations not in the creep zone itself as determined by a creepmeter, but on the adjacent sides, 10 and 30 meters from the center line of the fault. The anomalous values were 5 times higher than the background values measured farther away from the fault. A similar radon anomaly was observed along a 420-m long survey line across a creeping segment of the Calaveras fault near 7th Street in Hollister. There, the anomalous values were about 6 to 11 times the background values and about 40 and 50 m from the center line of the fault. The double-peaked featire of the anomalies may be indicative of a relatively low gas permeability of the fault-gouge materials in the creeping zones and high permeability of fractured rocks in the adjacent shear zones. Along a 144-m survey line across the currently locked segment of the San Andreas fault at the Earthquake Trail near Olema, the radon concentration was indeed anomalously high in the fault zone, by a factor of two above background values. However, the maximum values (3 to 6 times background) again were recorded about 10 meters from the center line. Three weeks after the magnitude 7.5 Landers earthquake of 28 June 1992, we conducted a survey along a 300-m line across the earthquake fault alongside Encantado Road in the epicenter area. The radon values measured at the two main fault breaks were an order of magnitude higher than the background values. A similar result was found along a 420-m line alongside Reche Road about 1.7 km south of Encantado Road. ?? 1993 Birkha??user Verlag.
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Radon anomalies on three kinds of faults in California