Types and areal distribution of ground failure associated with the 2019 Ridgecrest, California, earthquake sequence

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
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Abstract

The July 2019 Ridgecrest, California, earthquake sequence included the largest earthquake (M 7.1) to strike the conterminous United States in the past 20 yr. To characterize the types, numbers, and areal distributions of different types of ground failure (landslides, liquefaction, and ground cracking), I conducted a field investigation of ground failure triggered by the sequence around the periphery of the epicentral area (which had limited access). The earthquake sequence triggered sparse and widely scattered landslides over an area of 22,000  km2∼22,000  km2 and at a maximum epicentral distance of 114 km; these metrics are within the upper bounds as compared with global averages for earthquakes of similar size. Some rock falls blocked primary and secondary roads, but no other landslide damage was reported. Almost all of the landslides in the peripheral area were small rock falls (110  m3∼1–10  m3), but a few larger (100  m3∼100  m3) rock slides also occurred. Though there are only informal reports about ground failure in the immediate epicentral area and we lack a detailed survey there, the small number (hundreds) and size of the landslides still seems to be far below global averages for M 7.1. This could be a result of the arid landscape and lack of a deeply weathered zone of soil and regolith. Liquefaction occurred along part of the western margin of Searles Valley. One large (0.4  km2∼0.4  km2) lateral spread caused by liquefaction severely damaged parts of Trona. Minor liquefaction also occurred in a 100mwide∼100‐m‐wide band along the fault‐rupture zone in some places.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Types and areal distribution of ground failure associated with the 2019 Ridgecrest, California, earthquake sequence
Series title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
DOI 10.1785/0120200001
Volume 110
Issue 4
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Seismological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Geologic Hazards Science Center
Description 12 p.
First page 1567
Last page 1578
Country United States
State California
City Ridgecrest
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