Investigating strain transfer along the Southern San Andreas Fault: A geomorphic and geodetic study of block rotation in the Eastern Transverse Ranges, Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Katherine A. Guns, Richard A. Bennett, & Kimberly D. Blisniuk

Submitted August 12, 2017, SCEC Contribution #7533, 2017 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #120

To better evaluate the distribution and transfer of strain and slip along the Southern San Andreas Fault (SSAF) zone in the northern Coachella valley in southern California, we integrate geological and geodetic observations to test whether strain is being transferred away from the SSAF system towards the Eastern California Shear Zone through microblock rotation of the Eastern Transverse Ranges (ETR). The faults of the ETR consist of five east-west trending left lateral strike slip faults that have measured cumulative offsets of up to 20 km and as low as 1 km. Present kinematic and block models present a variety of slip rate estimates, from as low as zero to as high as 7 mm/yr, suggesting a gap in our understanding of what role these faults play in the larger system. To determine whether present-day block rotation along these faults is contributing to strain transfer in the region, we are applying 10Be surface exposure dating methods to observed offset channel and alluvial fan deposits in order to estimate fault slip rates along two faults in the ETR. We present observations of offset geomorphic landforms using field mapping and LiDAR data at three sites along the Blue Cut Fault and one site along the Smoke Tree Wash Fault in Joshua Tree National Park which indicate recent Quaternary fault activity. Initial results of site mapping and clast count analyses reveal at least three stages of offset, including potential Holocene offsets, for one site along the Blue Cut Fault, while preliminary 10Be geochronology is in progress. This geologic slip rate data, combined with new geodetic surface velocity field derived from updated campaign-based GPS measurements within Joshua Tree National Park will allow us to construct a suite of elastic fault block models to elucidate rates of strain transfer away from the SSAF and how that strain transfer may be affecting the length of the interseismic period along the SSAF.

Key Words
SSAF, geologic slip rates, geodesy, strain transfer, microblock rotation

Citation
Guns, K. A., Bennett, R. A., & Blisniuk, K. D. (2017, 08). Investigating strain transfer along the Southern San Andreas Fault: A geomorphic and geodetic study of block rotation in the Eastern Transverse Ranges, Joshua Tree National Park, CA. Poster Presentation at 2017 SCEC Annual Meeting.


Related Projects & Working Groups
Earthquake Geology