Abstract

Detailed analysis of continuously cored boreholes and cone penetrometer tests (CPTs), high-resolution seismic-reflection data, and luminescence and 14C dates from Holocene strata folded above the tip of the Ventura blind thrust fault constrain the ages and displacements of the two (or more) most recent earthquakes. These two earthquakes, which are identified by a prominent surface fold scarp and a stratigraphic sequence that thickens across an older buried fold scarp, occurred before the 235-yr-long historic era and after 805 ± 75 yr ago (most recent folding event[s]) and between 4065 and 4665 yr ago (previous folding event[s]). Minimum uplift in these two scarp-forming events was ∼6 m for the most recent earthquake(s) and ∼5.2 m for the previous event(s). Large uplifts such as these typically occur in large-magnitude earthquakes in the range of Mw 7.5–8.0. Any such events along the Ventura fault would likely involve rupture of other Transverse Ranges faults to the east and west and/or rupture downward onto the deep, low-angle décollements that underlie these faults. The proximity of this large reverse-fault system to major population centers, including the greater Los Angeles region, and the potential for tsunami generation during ruptures extending offshore along the western parts of the system highlight the importance of understanding the complex behavior of these faults for probabilistic seismic hazard assessment.

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