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Brief Report for Sierra Madre fault zone, Santa Susana section (Class A) No. 105a

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citation for this record: Treiman, J.Jerome, compiler, 2000, Fault number 105a, Sierra Madre fault zone, Santa Susana section, in Quaternary fault and fold database of the United States: U.S. Geological Survey website,, accessed 09/18/2014 03:42 PM.

Synopsis General: In general the Sierra Madre-Cucamonga fault zone marks the southern margin of uplift of the San Gabriel Mountains, although the Santa Susana fault extends the zone of south-vergent uplift west of these mountains. Only local portions of the fault zone have had detailed paleoseismic investigations, and those have had fairly limited results. Published slip rates vary widely along the fault zone. The best-understood part of the fault is the easternmost section, the Cucamonga fault zone, with excellent geomorphic expression, several trenches, and age control from radiocarbon and soil stratigraphic studies. These studies have demonstrated multiple Holocene events on several strands of the Cucamonga fault and a minimum slip rate of 4.5 mm/yr. Two studies on the central and eastern portions of the Sierra Madre fault zone have indicated that recurrence intervals between large events (M greater than or equal to 7) seem to be long (perhaps 7-8 k.y. or longer). The slip rate on the Sierra Madre fault appears to be considerably less than the Cucamonga fault, perhaps as low as 1 mm/yr or less. Studies on the San Fernando fault zone indicate a somewhat shorter recurrence interval of perhaps as much as 4,000 yr. The Santa Susana fault is less well understood, but has been inferred to have a slip rate greater than 5 mm/yr.

Sections: This fault has 8 sections. The Santa Susana, San Fernando, Sierra Madre and Cucamonga fault zones are four basic units of this fault zone. Santa Susana, itself, has been divided structurally into three parts (Yeats, 1987 #6113; Yeats and others, 1994 #6114, see discussion of section 105a) but is treated here as one section. The Sierra Madre fault zone, along with the San Fernando fault zone, has been divided into three to seven elements. Segmentation of the Sierra Madre fault has been proposed based on the identification of several, convex-to-the-south, "salients" (Proctor and others, 1972 #6100; Ehlig, 1975 #6088; Wesnousky, 1986 #5305; Petersen and Wesnousky, 1994 #5962). However, it has not been demonstrated that rupture would be restricted to an individual segment in an earthquake. Sierra Madre segment A (Wesnousky, 1986 #5305) is not considered by Crook and others (1987 #5956) as part of the Sierra Madre fault zone, but rather is called the Vasquez Creek fault (after Miller, 1928 #5961), a southern branch of the San Gabriel fault. Segments B through E of Wesnousky (1986 #5305) after Proctor and others (1972 #6100) and Ehlig (1975 #6088) are retained in this compilation as sections. Morton and Matti (1987 #6099) discuss possible segmentation of the Cucamonga fault zone (but it is treated here as one section). Walls and others (1997 #6110) suggest at least two and possibly three segments for the San Fernando-Sierra Madre-Cucamonga fault zone (San Fernando, Sierra Madre and Cucamonga) based on differing uplift rates. In support of a lesser number of segments, Tucker and Dolan (2001 #6107) suggest that the entire Sierra Madre section, from Altadena to San Dimas, may rupture in single events.
Physiographic province(s) PACIFIC BORDER
Length (km) This section is 35 km of a total fault length of 128 km.
Average strike N89°W (for section) versus N86°W (for whole fault)
Sense of movement Reverse
Dip Direction N
Historic earthquake
Most recent prehistoric deformation Latest Quaternary (<15 ka)
Slip-rate category Greater than 5.0 mm/yr
Date and Compiler(s) 2000
Jerome Treiman, California Geological Survey