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Lidar-assisted identification of an active fault near Truckee, California

L. E. Hunter, J. F. Howle, R. S. Rose and G. W. Bawden
Lidar-assisted identification of an active fault near Truckee, California
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (June 2011) 101 (3): 1162-1181


We use high-resolution (1.5-2.4 points/m (super 2) ) bare-earth airborne Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) imagery to identify, map, constrain, and visualize fault-related geomorphology in densely vegetated terrain surrounding Martis Creek Dam near Truckee, California. Bare-earth LiDAR imagery reveals a previously unrecognized and apparently youthful right-lateral strike-slip fault that exhibits laterally continuous tectonic geomorphic features over a 35-km-long zone. If these interpretations are correct, the fault, herein named the Polaris fault, may represent a significant seismic hazard to the greater Truckee-Lake Tahoe and Reno-Carson City regions. Three-dimensional modeling of an offset late Quaternary terrace riser indicates a minimum tectonic slip rate of 0.4+ or -0.1 mm/yr. Mapped fault patterns are fairly typical of regional patterns elsewhere in the northern Walker Lane and are in strong coherence with moderate magnitude historical seismicity of the immediate area, as well as the current regional stress regime. Based on a range of surface-rupture lengths and depths to the base of the seismogenic zone, we estimate a maximum earthquake magnitude (M) for the Polaris fault to be between 6.4 and 6.9.

ISSN: 0037-1106
EISSN: 1943-3573
Serial Title: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Serial Volume: 101
Serial Issue: 3
Title: Lidar-assisted identification of an active fault near Truckee, California
Affiliation: U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sacramento, CA, United States
Pages: 1162-1181
Published: 201106
Text Language: English
Publisher: Seismological Society of America, Berkeley, CA, United States
References: 67
Accession Number: 2011-057078
Categories: Environmental geologySeismology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 2 tables, geol. sketch maps
N39°01'00" - N39°28'60", W121°16'00" - W120°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: U. S. Geological Survey, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2017, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Seismological Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 201132
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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