Damage and restoration of geodetic infrastructure caused by the 1994 Northridge, California, earthquake

Open-File Report 96-517

Produced in cooperation with the California Department of Transporation, the National Geodetic Survey, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency
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We seek to restore the integrity of the geodetic network in the San Fernando, Simi, Santa Clarita Valleys and in the northern Los Angeles Basin by remeasurement of the network and identification of BMs which experienced non-tectonic displacements associated with the Northridge earthquake. We then use the observed displacement of BMs in the network to portray or predict the permanent vertical and horizontal deformation associated with the 1994 Northridge earthquake throughout the area, including sites where we lack geodetic measurements. To accomplish this, we find the fault geometry and earthquake slip that are most compatible with the geodetic and independent seismic observations of the earthquake. We then use that fault model to predict the deformation everywhere at the earth's surface, both at locations where geodetic observations exist and also where they are absent.

We compare displacements predicted for a large number of numerical models of the earthquake faulting to the coseismic displacements, treating the earthquake fault as a cut or discontinuity embedded in a stiff elastic solid. This comparison is made after non-tectonic deformation has been removed from the measured elevation changes. The fault slip produces strain in the medium and deforms the ground surface. The model compatible with seismic observations that best fits the geodetic data within their uncertainties is selected. The acceptable model fault bisects the mainshock focus, and the earthquake size , magnitude, is compatible with the earthquake size measured seismically. Our fault model was used to identify geodetic monuments on engineered structures that were anomalously displaced by the earthquake.

Study Area

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USGS Numbered Series
Damage and restoration of geodetic infrastructure caused by the 1994 Northridge, California, earthquake
Series title:
Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
Earthquake Science Center
HTML Document
United States
Other Geospatial:
Los Angeles Basin;San Fernando Valley;Santa Clarita Valley;Simi Valley
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