Offshore faults west of Point Dume, southern California, are part of an important regional fault system that extends for about 206 km, from near the city of Los Angeles westward along the south flank of the Santa Monica Mountains and through the northern Channel Islands. This boundary fault system separates the western Transverse Ranges, on the north, from the California Continental Borderland, on the south. Previous research showed that the fault system includes many active fault strands; consequently, the entire system is considered a serious potential earthquake hazard to nearby Los Angeles. We present an integrated analysis of multichannel seismic- and high-resolution seismic-reflection data and multibeam-bathymetric information to focus on the central part of the fault system that lies west of Point Dume. We show that some of the main offshore faults have cumulative displacements of 3-5 km, and many faults are currently active because they deform the seafloor or very shallow sediment layers. The main offshore fault is the Dume fault, a large north-dipping reverse fault. In the eastern part of the study area, this fault offsets the seafloor, showing Holocene displacement. Onshore, the Malibu Coast fault dips steeply north, is active, and shows left-oblique slip. The probable offshore extension of this fault is a large fault that dips steeply in its upper part but flattens at depth. High-resolution seismic data show that this fault deforms shallow sediment making up the Hueneme fan complex, indicating Holocene activity. A structure near Sycamore knoll strikes transversely to the main faults and could be important to the analysis of the regional earthquake hazard because the structure might form a boundary between earthquake-rupture segments.
Additional publication details
Recent deformation along the offshore Malibu Coast, Dume, and related faults west of Point Dume, southern California