In order to document surface rupture associated with the Hector Mine earthquake, in particular, the area of maximum slip and the deformed surface of Lavic Lake playa, we acquired high-resolution data using relatively new topographic-mapping methods. We performed a raster-laser scan of the main surface breaks along the entire rupture zone, as well as along an unruptured portion of the Bullion fault. The image of the ground surface produced by this method is highly detailed, comparable to that obtained when geologists make particularly detailed site maps for geomorphic or paleoseismic studies. In this case, however, for the first time after a surface-rupturing earthquake, the detailed mapping is along the entire fault zone rather than being confined to selected sites. These data are geodetically referenced, using the Global Positioning System, thus enabling more accurate mapping of the rupture traces. In addition, digital photographs taken along the same flight lines can be overlaid onto the precise topographic data, improving terrain visualization. We demonstrate the potential of these techniques for measuring fault-slip vectors.
Additional publication details
High-resolution topography along surface rupture of the 16 October 1999 Hector Mine, California (Mw 7.1) from airborne laser swath mapping