In 1981, the United States Geological Survey recorded a seismic-refraction profile across the southern Santa Cruz Mountains in west-central California to examine the shallow velocity structure of this seismogenic region. This 40-km-long profile, which consisted of three shotpoints, extended northeastward from near Watsonville, California, to Coyote Lake, crossing the San Andreas, Sargent, and Calaveras faults. This entire region is characterized by a highly heterogeneous upper crust. West of Watsonville, 1 km of alluvium with a velocity of 2.12 km/sec overlies a basement with a velocity 5.45 km/sec. The abrupt deepening of basement by 1.5 km just east of Watsonville at a subsurface fault suggests that the Zayante fault to the north and the Vergeles fault to the south are connected. The Tertiary sediment at the San Andreas fault is 2.5 km thick and has a velocity of 3.34 km/sec. The San Andreas fault is not marked by any distinctive seismic velocity features, whereas a 1-km-wide low velocity zone is found at both the Sargent and Calaveras faults. East of the Sargent fault, the basement surface forms a broad anticlinal structure, with velocities ranging from 5.4 to 6.0 km/sec. From the anticlinal crest, basement dips to the east beneath the Santa Clara Valley and reaches a maximum depth of 1 km on the east side; the overlying alluvium has a velocity of 2.7 km/sec. At the crest of the basement anticlinal structure, a vertical low-velocity zone coincident with exposed serpentine provides strong evidence of faulting.

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