The style, timing, and pattern of slip on the Santa Cruz Island fault were investigated by trenching the fault and by analysis of offset late Quaternary landforms. A trench excavated across the fault at Christi Beach, on the western coast of the island, exposed deformation of latest Pleistocene to Holocene sediments and pre-Quaternary rocks, recording repeated large-magnitude rupture events. The most recent earthquake at this site occurred ca. 5 ka. Coastal terraces preserved on western Santa Cruz Island have been dated using the uranium-series technique and by extrapolation using terrace elevations and the eustatic record. Offset of terraces and other landforms indicates that the Santa Cruz Island fault is predominantly left lateral, having a horizontal slip rate of not more than 1.1 mm/yr and probably about 0.8 mm/yr. The fault also has a smaller reverse component, slipping at a rate of between 0.1 and 0.2 mm/yr. Combined with measurements of slip per event, this information suggests a long-term average recurrence interval of at least 2.7 k.y. and probably 4–5 k.y., and average earthquake magnitudes of Mw 7.2–7.5. Sense of slip, recurrence interval, and earthquake magnitudes calculated here for the Santa Cruz Island fault are very similar to recent results for other faults along the southern margin of the western Transverse Range, including the Malibu Coast fault, the Santa Monica fault, the Hollywood fault, and the Raymond fault, supporting the contention that these faults constitute a continuous and linked fault system, which is characterized by large but relatively infrequent earthquakes.

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