The 1983 Mw 6.9 Borah Peak earthquake generated ~36 km of surface rupture along the Thousand Springs and Warm Springs sections of the Lost River fault zone (LRFZ, Idaho, USA). Although the rupture is a well-studied example of multisegment surface faulting, ambiguity remains regarding the degree to which a bedrock ridge and branch fault at the Willow Creek Hills influenced rupture progress. To explore the 1983 rupture in the context of the structural complexity, we reconstruct the spatial distribution of surface displacements for the northern 16 km of the 1983 rupture and prehistoric ruptures in the same reach of the LRFZ using 252 vertical-separation measurements made from high-resolution (5–10-cm-pixel) digital surface models. Our results suggest the 1983 Warm Springs rupture had an average vertical displacement of ~0.3–0.4 m and released ~6% of the seismic moment estimated for the Borah Peak earthquake and <12% of the moment accumulated on the Warm Springs section since its last prehistoric earthquake. The 1983 Warm Springs rupture is best described as the moderate-displacement continuation of primary rupture from the Thousand Springs section into and through a zone of structural complexity. Historical and prehistoric displacements show that the Willow Creek Hills have impeded some, but not all ruptures. We speculate that rupture termination or penetration is controlled by the history of LRFZ moment release, displacement, and rupture direction. Our results inform the interpretation of paleoseismic data from near zones of normal-fault structural complexity and demonstrate that these zones may modulate rather than impede rupture displacement.

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