The great 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake is the largest earthquake to have hit southern California during the historic period. We investigated if seismicity patterns following 1857 could be due to static stress changes generated by the 1857 earthquake. When post-1857 earthquakes with unknown focal mechanisms were assigned strike-slip mechanisms with strike and rake determined by the nearest active fault, 13 of the 13 southern California M???5.5 earthquakes between 1857 and 1907 were encouraged by the 1857 rupture. When post-1857 earthquakes in the Transverse Ranges with unknown focal mechanisms were assigned reverse mechanisms and all other events were assumed strike-slip, 11 of the 13 earthquakes were encouraged by the 1857 earthquake. These results show significant correlations between static stress changes and seismicity patterns. The correlation disappears around 1907, suggesting that tectonic loading began to overwhelm the effect of the 1857 earthquake early in the 20th century.
Additional publication details
In the shadow of 1857-the effect of the great Ft. Tejon earthquake on subsequent earthquakes in southern California