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SCEC Special Fault Study Areas (SFSAs)

Special Fault Study Areas (SFSA) are integrated, multidisciplinary projects focused on areas of complex fault behavior within southern California. There are two primary goals of SFSA, as articulated in the SCEC4 proposal: (1) To understand how fault complexities affect the propagation of earthquake ruptures and the heterogeneity of stress in the crust, and (2) To investigate how tremor and microseismicity (including induced seismicity) affect the nucleation of large earthquakes. Tackling these problems will require the assembly of teams of researchers with diverse expertise. For example, research areas of fault complexity may seek to merge geological, seismological, and potential-field data to elucidate fault structure and paleoseismic history, integrate this information with geodetic data to derive fault loading and stressing rates, and apply dynamic rupture simulations to explore how earth structure and rupture history affect the potential sizes of future earthquakes. One of the anticipated advantages of SFSA is to leverage the impact of new and/or densified instrumentation. It is expected that collaborations built around SFSA will be open to the community, and generate open community data sets.

Science Plan

Current SFSA are required to formulate a Science Plan that describes the general structure and scientific questions to be addressed by the group. Groups interested in formalizing SFSA are encouraged to self-organize and develop a Science Plan or propose a workshop (through the standard SCEC proposal process) to explore a new SFSA.

The Science Plan for a SFSA should be developed and written by a group of SCEC investigators, and submitted in conjunction with SCEC proposals due in early November. The plan should include (in ~2 pages plus references):

  • Identification of key questions and research targets that address fundamental problems in earthquake science with an interdisciplinary plan for achieving these goals within SCEC4
  • Discussion of integrative activities and broader impacts
  • Assessment of resources needed to achieve these goals and identification of outside resources that may be required
  • Timeline identifying short and long term goals and completion date

SCEC Proposals Associated with SFSA
Each principal investigator should submit a separate, standard 5 page SCEC proposal that clearly ties the investigator’s work to the Science Plan, provides additional background and details on the data collection and/or analyses to be completed by that investigator, and includes a budget for that investigator. Each investigator’s proposal will be evaluated separately through the standard SCEC proposal process (see SCEC Science Collaboration Plan). Workshop proposals for activities around the SFSA should be developed according to the standard workshop proposal process as outlined in the Collaboration Plan.

There are two SFSAs established in SCEC4: the San Gorgonio and Ventura Area SFSAs. We are approaching the midpoint of SCEC4 and received substantial budget cuts in the second year. All signs point to continued tight funding. Given this combination of factors, we do not anticipate developing additional SFSAs in SCEC4.

If you are interested in contributing to the SFSA currently in development, please contact:

SFSA Science Plan
San Gorgonio Pass
Ventura Area
Contact Person(s)
Michele Cooke, David Oglesby, Doug Yule
James Dolan, Tom Rockwell, John Shaw, Scott Marshall

Please contact Kate Scharer or Mike Oskin with any questions about the SFSA process.