Late Holocene rupture history of the Ash Hill Fault (ECSZ) and the potential for seismogenic strain transfer between adjacent fault systems

Christine Regalla, Shannon A. Mahan, Eric Kirby, Eric McDonald, & Aubrey LaPlante

Submitted September 11, 2022, SCEC Contribution #11900, 2022 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #TBD

The eastern California Shear Zone (ECSZ) contains networks of crustal faults that accommodate strain transfer across geometrically complex fault systems. Large magnitude earthquakes appear able to rupture across adjacent fault systems, but confidently correlating paleoseismic ruptures across these complex fault systems is challenging as coarse alluvial deposits are not readily amenable to high-precision chronology. Here we document the record of late Holocene ruptures along the Ash Hill fault, located in western Panamint Valley, leveraging a multifaceted approach that combines tectono-geomorphic mapping using a locally-calibrated, high-resolution, alluvial fan stratigraphy, feldspar luminescence dating, and fault offset analysis from field observations, lidar, and drone based digital surface elevation models. These data yield evidence for three surface rupturing earthquakes since ~4 ka, with the most recent event occurring the past 300-600 years. Each event accommodated ~1.0 +/- 0.2 m of right lateral oblique slip, and likely occurred during earthquakes of magnitude ~6.9-7.0. Our data show that the timing of the last three ruptures on the Ash Hill fault are similar to the paleoseismic record along the adjacent range-bounding fault in southern Panamint Valley. Specifically, the two adjacent faults have similar numbers of earthquakes during the Late Holocene, similar recurrence intervals, and similar rupture timing. These data suggest that it is possible that these two faults have ruptured in the same or closely temporally related events over multiple seismic cycles throughout the Late Holocene. Similar spatio-temporal clusters and multi-fault earthquakes have been recognized in both historic and paleoseismic records in the ECSZ, and such behavior may be common in complexly interlinked fault networks, like those that exist in evolving transtensional systems in the western US.

Key Words
Holocene earthquakes; clustered earthquakes; tectonic geomorphology; IRSL

Regalla, C., Mahan, S. A., Kirby, E., McDonald, E., & LaPlante, A. (2022, 09). Late Holocene rupture history of the Ash Hill Fault (ECSZ) and the potential for seismogenic strain transfer between adjacent fault systems. Poster Presentation at 2022 SCEC Annual Meeting.

Related Projects & Working Groups
Earthquake Geology