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Evidence for Large Earthquakes in Metropolitan Los Angeles

Charles M. Rubin, Scott C. Lindvall, & Thomas K. Rockwell

Published July 17, 1998, SCEC Contribution #442

The Sierra Madre fault, along the southern flank of the San Gabriel Mountains in the Los Angeles region, has failed in magnitude 7.2 to 7.6 events at least twice in the past 15,000 years. Restoration of slip on the fault indicated a minimum of about 4.0 meters of slip from the most recent earthquake and suggests a total cumulative slip of about 10.5 meters for the past two prehistoric earthquakes. Large surface displacements and strong ground motions resulting from greater than magnitude 7 earthquakes within the Los Angeles region are not yet considered in most seismic hazard and risk assessments.

Key Words
United States, lithostratigraphy, paleoseismicity, geologic hazards, isotopes, slip rates, displacements, California, Cenozoic, radioactive isotopes, dates, seismicity, carbon, seismic risk, absolute age, faults, charcoal, Los Angeles County California, Quaternary, magnitude, earthquake prediction, ground motion, risk assessment, C-14, San Gabriel Mountains, Sierra Madre Fault, earthquakes

Rubin, C. M., Lindvall, S. C., & Rockwell, T. K. (1998). Evidence for Large Earthquakes in Metropolitan Los Angeles. Science, 281(5375), 398-402. doi: 10.1126/science.281.5375.398.