A finite fault striking N24°W and extending to a depth of 10 km is proposed to explain the strong ground motion data for the 6 August 1979 Coyote Lake, California, earthquake (ML = 5.9). Our source model suggests that right-lateral faulting initiated at a depth of 8 km and ruptured toward the south with a velocity of 2.8 km/sec. This unilateral rupture can explain the large displacement recorded south of the epicenter. However, the waveform coherency across an array south and southwest of the epicenter suggests that the rupture length is less than 6 km. The maximum dislocation is about 120 cm in a small area near the hypocenter, and the total moment is estimated to be 3.5 ×1024 dyne-cm. An abrupt stopping phase which corresponds to a deceleration of right-lateral motion can explain the high peak acceleration recorded at array station 6. The stress drop in the hypocentral area is about 140 bars; the average stress drop over the entire rupture surface is 30 bars. The preferred finite-source model can predict the Pn1 waveforms and the beginning features in the teleseismic seismograms. No clear arrivals can be observed in the near-source data for the possible second and third smaller events suggested by Nabelek (personal communication).

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