Teleseismic P-wave first motions for the M ≧ 6 earthquakes near Mammoth Lakes, California, are inconsistent with the vertical strike-slip mechanisms determined from local and regional P-wave first motions. Combining these data sets allows three possible mechanisms: a north-striking, east-dipping strike-slip fault; a NE-striking oblique fault; and a NNW-striking normal fault. Inversion of long-period teleseismic P and SH waves for the events of 25 May 1980 (1633 UTC) and 27 May 1980 (1450 UTC) yields moment tensors with large non-double-couple components. The moment tensor for the first event may be decomposed into a major double couple with strike = 18°, dip = 61°, and rake = −15°, and a minor double couple with strike = 303°, dip = 43°, and rake = 224°. A similar decomposition for the last event yields strike = 25°, dip = 65°, rake = −6°, and strike = 312°, dip = 37°, and rake = 232°. Although the inversions were performed on only a few teleseismic body waves, the radiation patterns of the moment tensors are consistent with most of the P-wave first motion polarities at local, regional, and teleseismic distances. The stress axes inferred from the moment tensors are consistent with N65°E extension determined by geodetic measurements by Savage et al. (1981). Seismic moments computed from the moment tensors are 1.87 × 1025 dyne-cm for the 25 May 1980 (1633 UTC) event and 1.03 × 1025 dyne-cm for the 27 May 1980 (1450 UTC) event. The non-double-couple aspect of the moment tensors and the inability to obtain a convergent solution for the 25 May 1980 (1944 UTC) event may indicate that the assumptions of a point source and plane-layered structure implicit in the moment tensor inversion are not entirely valid for the Mammoth Lakes earthquakes.

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