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Late Quaternary slip-rate gradient defined using high-resolution topography and 10Be dating of offset landforms on the southern San Jacinto fault, California

Kimberly D. Blisniuk, Thomas K. Rockwell, Lewis A. Owen, Michael E. Oskin, Caitlin K. Lippincott, & Marc Caffee

Published 2010, SCEC Contribution #1626

Recent studies suggest the San Jacinto fault zone may be the dominant structure accommodating PA-NA relative plate motion. However, because the late Quaternary slip history of the southern San Andreas fault system is insufficiently understood, it is difficult to evaluate the partitioning of deformation across the plate boundary and its evolution. Landforms displaced by the Clark fault of the southern San Jacinto fault zone were mapped using high-resolution airborne laser-swath topography and selected offset landforms were dated using cosmogenic 10Be. Beheaded channels at Rockhouse Canyon, displaced by 500 ± 70 m and 220 ± 70 m, have been dated to 47 ± 8 ka and 28 ± 9 ka, respectively. Farther south, near the southern Santa Rosa Mountains, an alluvial deposit displaced by 51 ± 9 m has been dated to 35 ± 7 ka. From these sites, the slip rate of the Clark fault is determined to diminish southward from 8.9 ± 2.0 to 1.5 ± 0.4 mm/yr. This implies a slip-rate decrease along the Clark fault from Anza southeastward to its surface termination near the Salton Trough, where slip is transferred to the Coyote Creek fault, and additional deformation is compensated by folding and thrusting in the basin. These data suggest that since ∼30 to 50 ka, the slip rate along the southern San Jacinto fault zone has been lower than, or equivalent to, the rate along the southernmost San Andreas fault. Accordingly, either the slip rate of the San Jacinto fault has substantially decreased since fault initiation, or fault slip began earlier than previously suggested.

Citation
Blisniuk, K. D., Rockwell, T. K., Owen, L. A., Oskin, M. E., Lippincott, C. K., & Caffee, M. (2010). Late Quaternary slip-rate gradient defined using high-resolution topography and 10Be dating of offset landforms on the southern San Jacinto fault, California. Journal of Geophysical Research, 115. doi: 10.1029/2009JB006346 .