Earthquakes in complex fault settings: Examples from the Oregon Cascades, Eastern California Shear Zone, and San Andreas fault

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Virginia Tech

The surface expression of upper crustal deformation varies widely based on geologic settings. Normal faults within an intra-arc basin, strike-slip faulting within a wide shear zone, and creeping fault behavior all manifest differently and require a variety of techniques for analysis. In this dissertation I studied three different actively deforming regions across a variety of geologic settings. First, I explored the drivers of extension within the La Pine graben in the Oregon Cascades. I mapped >20 new Quaternary faults and conducted paleoseismic trenching, where I found evidence for a mid-late Holocene earthquake on the Twin Lakes maar fault. I suggest that tectonics and not volcanism is responsible for the most recent deformation in the region based on fault geometries and earthquake timings, although more research is needed to tease out finer temporal and genetic relationships between tectonics and volcanism regionally. Second, I investigated the rupture pattern and earthquake history of the Calico fault system in the Eastern California Shear Zone. We mapped ~18 km of continuous rupture, with a mean offset of 2.3 m based on 39 field measurements. We also found evidence for two earthquakes, 0.5 - 1.7 ka and 5.5 - 6.6 ka through paleoseismic trenching. We develop a number of different multifault rupture scenarios using our rupture mapping and rupture scaling relationships to conduct Coulomb stress change modeling for the most recent earthquake on the Calico fault system. We find that the most recent event places regions adjacent to the fault in a stress shadow and may have both delayed the historic Landers and Hector Mine ruptures and prevented triggering of the Calico fault system during those events. Last, I studied the spatial distribution of the southern transition zone of the creeping section of the San Andreas fault at Parkfield, CA to determine if it shifted in response to the M6 2004 Parkfield earthquake. I used an Iterative Closest Point algorithm to find the displacement between two lidar datasets acquired 13 years apart. I compared creep rates measured before the 2004 earthquake to creep rates calculated from my lidar displacement results and found that there is not a discernible change in the overall pattern or distribution of creep as a response to the 2004 earthquake. Peaks within the lidar displacement results indicate complexity in the geometry of fault locking.

tectonics, paleoseismology, strike-slip faults, creeping faults, high-resolution topography, active tectonics, Oregon, Eastern California Shear Zone, San Andreas fault, volcano, normal faults