Seismicity and geometry of a 110‐km‐long blind thrust fault 1. The 1985 Kettleman Hills, California, earthquake

Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
By: , and 



The August 4, 1985, Kettleman Hills earthquake was the third in a sequence of moderate shocks to occur beneath the northern half of a 110‐km‐long fold chain bounding the eastern California Coast Ranges. The 1982 MW =5.4 New Idria, 1983 MW=6.5 Coalinga, and 1985 MW=6.1 Kettleman Hills events define a southward progression of seismic activity beneath the fold. We use teleseismic waveforms, geodetic modeling, hypocenters relocated in a three‐dimensional velocity model, and subsurface structural data to investigate the Kettleman Hills earthquake. The main shock results from motion on a shallowly dipping thrust fault buried at ∼10 km depth. Aftershocks and coseismic fault slip extend 20 km along the fold axis, nearly the full extent of the Kettleman Hills North Dome anticline. Aftershocks occur primarily several kilometers in front of the fault tip and in the core of the anticline. The main shock and several foreshocks occurred at a 2‐km right step in the Quaternary fold axis, which also corresponds to the southern end of the 1983 Coalinga and northern end of the 1985 Kettleman Hills aftershock zones. From this we infer that the step in the fold is caused by an offset or tear in the underlying fault. The scalar seismic moment is 1.6 × 1018 N m, consistent with the geodetic deformation, and the duration of rupture is 16 s, 3–4 times greater than for the average earthquake with this scalar moment. The slow rate of moment release provides an explanation for the low level of ground shaking and low local magnitude reported for the event. The peak of the geodetic uplift is located 5 km perpendicular to the Quaternary fold axis. We argue that the fault is propagating northeast into the undeformed San Joaquin Valley sediments and that the overlying fold is growing at about 0.5 mm/yr.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Seismicity and geometry of a 110‐km‐long blind thrust fault 1. The 1985 Kettleman Hills, California, earthquake
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
DOI 10.1029/91JB02925
Volume 97
Issue B4
Year Published 1992
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Description 22 p.
First page 4843
Last page 4864
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Kettleman Hills
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