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Seismic mapping of shallow fault zones in the San Gabriel Mountains from the Los Angeles Region Seismic Experiment, Southern California

Gary S. Fuis, Trond Ryberg, William J. Lutter, & Perry Ehlig

Published 2001, SCEC Contribution #496

During the Los Angeles Region Seismic Experiment (LARSE), a reflection/refraction survey was conducted along a profile (line 1) extending from Seal Beach, California, northeastward to the Mojave Desert and crossing the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley basins and San Gabriel Mountains. In most shot gathers from the southern and central San Gabriel Mountains, clear secondary arrivals are seen that merge, or appear to merge, with first arrivals at three locations, including the location of the Vincent thrust fault, an exposed late Mesozoic/early Cenozoic megathrust. These secondary arrivals are interpretable as reflections in the shallow crust (<5 km depth) from a concave-upward interface that projects to the surface in the north near the Vincent thrust fault, is offset in its central part at the San Gabriel fault (an old branch of the San Andreas fault), and terminates in the south at 1 to 2 km depth at the southern mountain front. The velocity structure above and below this interface strongly suggests it is the Vincent thrust fault: intermediate velocities (6.2 km/s), consistent with mylonites overlying the Vincent thrust fault, are observed above it; lower velocities (5.8 km/s), consistent with the Pelona Schist underlying the Vincent thrust fault, are observed below it. Problems arise, however, in attempting to match this reflector to the exposed Vincent thrust fault, which is seen in outcrops east of line 1. The Vincent thrust fault is shallower than the reflector in most places. An unmapped structure (steep fault, monocline, or thrust fault) is required between line 1 and the outcrops that either drops the Vincent thrust fault down to the depths of the reflector or repeats the Vincent thrust fault beneath line 1 in the footwall of another thrust fault. An alternative interpretation of the reflector is a deep greenstone horizon within the Pelona Schist, although this alternative is not favored by the velocity structure.

Fuis, G. S., Ryberg, T., Lutter, W. J., & Ehlig, P. (2001). Seismic mapping of shallow fault zones in the San Gabriel Mountains from the Los Angeles Region Seismic Experiment, Southern California. Journal of Geophysical Research, 106(B4), 6549-6568.