abstract

Earthquakes with ML ≧ 4.5 that occurred between 1932 and 1973 in the Imperial Valley region and their related foreshocks and aftershocks are relocated using station delays derived from calibration events that were well recorded at regional distances between 1979 and 1981. The relocated seismicity shows that there was an increase in seismicity in regions northeast of the Imperial fault 5 to 6 yr prior to the 1940 (Ms = 7.1) Imperial Valley earthquake. A study of intensity reports for felt earthquakes prior to 1932 also suggests an increase in seismicity in regions surrounding the Imperial fault as early as 1917. Isoseismal patterns, description of the mainshock sequence, and patterns of seismicity before and after the 1915 Imperial Valley earthquakes suggest that the earthquakes occurred off the Imperial fault. In this case, seismicity between 1906 and 1940 would nearly encircle the portion of the Imperial fault that ruptured during 1940. In both the 1940 and 1979 Imperial Valley earthquake sequences, aftershocks of ML ≧ 4.5 occurred only for 2 months following the mainshock. The aftershock sequences were followed by periods of quiescence lasting up to 10 yr in the region within 30 km of the mainshock. This is in contrast to ML > 6.0 earthquakes occurring near the edges of the Imperial Valley that had aftershocks of ML ≧ 4.5 occurring for up to 4 yr after the mainshock. These differences may be related to the high heat flow within the Imperial Valley.

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