Abstract

A seismic refraction and low-fold reflection survey, known as the Los Angeles Region Seismic Experiment (LARSE), was conducted along a transect (line 1) extending from Seal Beach, California, to the Mojave Desert, crossing the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Valley basins and San Gabriel Mountains. The chief result of this survey is an interpreted cross section that addresses a number of questions regarding the crustal structure and tectonics of southern California that have been debated for decades and have important implications for earthquake hazard assessment. The results (or constraints) are as follows. (1) The maximum depth of the Los Angeles basin along line 1 is 8–9 km. (2) The deep structure of the Sierra Madre fault zone in the northern San Gabriel Valley is as follows. The Duarte branch of the Sierra Madre fault zone forms a buried, 2.5-km-high, moderately north dipping buttress between the sedimentary and volcanic rocks of the San Gabriel Valley and the igneous and metamorphic rocks of the San Gabriel Mountains. (For deeper structure, see following.) (3) There are active crustal décollements in southern California. At middle-crustal depths, the Sierra Madre fault zone appears to sole into a master décollement that terminates northward at the San Andreas fault and projects southward beneath the San Gabriel Valley to the Puente Hills blind thrust fault. (4) The dip and depth extent of the San Andreas fault along line 1 dips steeply (∼83°) northward and extends to at least the Moho. (5) The subsurface lateral extent of the Pelona Schist in southern California is as follows. Along line 1, the Pelona Schist underlies much, if not all of the San Gabriel Mountains south of the San Andreas fault to middle-crustal depths. North of the San Andreas fault, it is apparently not present along the transect.

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