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The Tectonic Crustal Stress Field and Style of Faulting Along the Pacific North America Plate Boundary in Southern California.

Wenzheng Yang, & Egill Hauksson

Published July 2013, SCEC Contribution #1677

We invert for the state of stress in the southern California crust using a catalog of high quality earthquake focal mechanisms (1981-2010). The stress field is best resolved where seismicity rates are high but sufficient data are available to constrain the stress field across most of the region. From the stress field, we determine the maximum horizontal compressive stress (SHmax) orientations and the style of faulting across southern California. The trend of SHmax exhibits significant regional and local spatial heterogeneities. The regional trend of SHmax varies from north along the San Andreas system to NNE to the east in the Eastern California Shear Zone as well as to the west, within the Continental Borderland and the Western Transverse Ranges. The transition zones from one state of stress to the other occur over a distance of only a few kilometers, following a trend from Yucca Valley to Imperial Valley to the east, and the western edge of the Peninsular Ranges to the west. The local scale heterogeneities in the SHmax trend include NNW trends along the San Andreas Fault near Cajon Pass, Tejon Pass, and the Cucapah Range, as well as ~NNE trends near the northern San Jacinto Fault and the Wheeler Ridge region. The style of faulting exhibits similar complexity, ranging from predominantly normal faulting in the high Sierra Nevada, to strike-slip faulting along the San Andreas system, to three consecutive bands of thrust faulting in the Wheeler Ridge area and the Western Transverse Ranges. The local variations in the style of faulting include normal faulting at the north end of the San Jacinto Fault and scattered regions of thrust faulting. The regional variations in the SHmax trends are very similar to the pattern of the GPS-measured maximum shortening axes of the surface strain rate tensor field although the strain field tends to be smoother and appears to capture some of the upper mantle deformation field. The mean trend of SHmax departs about approximately 14° to the east from the trend of the maximum shortening directions of anisotropy in the upper mantle.

Yang, W., & Hauksson, E. (2013). The Tectonic Crustal Stress Field and Style of Faulting Along the Pacific North America Plate Boundary in Southern California. . Geophysical Journal International,. doi: 10.1093/gji/ggt113 .