Abstract

The occurrence of a series of earthquakes including the 1992 Landers event, the geodetic strain measurements, and geologic studies in California's Mojave Desert prior to the earthquake have precipitated the idea for the existence of a relatively young right-lateral shear zone in eastern California, the so-called eastern California shear zone. Using a boundary element method together with a fault-propagation criterion based on the maximum distortional strain energy density, we explored the possibility that the big bend along the San Andreas fault may have perturbed and amplified the stress field around the bend, thereby inducing a zone of shearing in a north-northwest orientation at the southern end of the bend. The simulated fault-propagation path agrees well with the data and sheds light on the origin and nature of the seismicity north and east of the big bend of the San Andreas.

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