Abstract

Data from geotechnical boreholes and trenches, in combination with geomorphologic mapping, indicate that the Hollywood fault is an oblique, reverse–left-lateral fault that has undergone at least one surface-rupturing earthquake during latest Pleistocene to middle or late Holocene time. Geomorphologic observations show that the fault extends for 14 km along the southern edge of the eastern Santa Monica Mountains, from the Los Angeles River westward through downtown Hollywood to northwestern Beverly Hills, where the locus of active deformation steps 1.2 km southward along the West Beverly Hills lineament to the Santa Monica fault. Rupture of the entire Hollywood fault, by itself, could produce a Mw ∼ 6.6 earthquake, similar in size to the highly destructive, 1994 Northridge earthquake, but even closer to more densely urbanized areas. Assuming a 0.35 mm/yr minimum fault-slip rate consistent with available geologic data, we calculate an average maximum recurrence interval for such moderate events of ≤∼4000 yr. Although occurrence of such moderate events is consistent with the elapsed time since the poorly constrained age of the most recent surface rupture, the data do not preclude a longer quiescent interval suggestive of larger earthquakes. If earthquakes much larger than Mw∼6.6 occurred in the past, we speculate that they may have been generated by the Hollywood fault together with other faults in the Transverse Ranges Southern Boundary fault system.

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