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The Sierra Madre fault zone is a south-vergent, active reverse fault that accommodates shortening between basins on the northern margin of the Los Angeles region and the San Gabriel Mountains. The preservation of late Quaternary alluvial fill and fan surfaces in the hanging wall of the fault provides evidence of long-term uplift. Surface rupture from the 1971 Mw 6.6 San Fernando earthquake and evidence of large prehistoric displacements from trenching investigations emphasize the ongoing hazard posed by the fault system to the region. This one-day field trip visits some of the key locations near Pasadena and San Fernando, California, where slip rates have been determined from cosmogenic and luminescence dating of abandoned surfaces dating to 50–70, ca. 30, and ca. 12 ka and surface offsets measured from lidar and pre-development topographic maps. Another stop is the site of a paleoseismic trench, which provided key evidence on the timing and displacement of past ruptures on the fault. In combination, results from these field investigations converge on a slip rate for the eastern ~100 km of the fault zone of 1–2 mm/yr, which matches or exceeds the rates for other reverse faults in southern California. This rate, in combination with trenching data that show no evidence of post–mid Holocene ruptures along the central and eastern portions of the fault, indicate the fault zone poses a significant seismic hazard to the region.

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