Abstract

The Newport-Inglewood fault zone (NIF) strikes northwest along the western margin of the Los Angeles basin in southern California. The seismicity (1973 to 1985) of ML ≧ 2.5 that occurred within a 20-km-wide rectangle centered on the NIF extending from the Santa Monica fault in the north to Newport Beach in the south is analyzed. A simultaneous full inversion scheme (VELEST) is used to invert for hypocentral parameters, two velocity models, and a set of station delays. Arrival time data from three quarry blasts are included to stabilize the inversion. The first velocity model applies to stations located along the rim and outside the Los Angeles basin and is well resolved. It is almost identical to the starting model, which is the model routinely used by the CIT/USGS southern California seismic network for locating local earthquakes. The second velocity model applies to stations located within the Los Angeles basin. It shows significantly lower velocities down to depths of 12 to 16 km, which is consistent with basement of Catalina Schist below the sediments in the western Los Angeles basin. The distribution of relocated hypocenters shows an improved correspondence to mapped surface traces of late Quaternary fault segments of the NIF. A diffuse trend of seismicity is observed along the Inglewood fault from the Dominguez Hills, across the Baldwin Hills to the Santa Monica fault in the north. The seismicity adjacent to Long Beach, however, is offset 4 to 5 km to the east, near the trace of the subsurface Los Alamitos fault. The depth distribution of earthquakes along the NIF shows clustering from 6 to 11 km depth, which is similar to average seismogenic depths in southern California. Thirty-nine single-event focal mechanisms of small earthquakes (1977 to 1985) show mostly strike-slip faulting with some reverse faulting along the north segment (north of Dominguez Hills) and some normal faulting along the south segment (south of Dominguez Hills to Newport Beach). The results of an inversion of the focal mechanism data for orientations of the principal stress axes and their relative magnitudes indicate that the minimum principal stress is vertical along the north segment while the intermediate stress is vertical along the south segment. The maximum principal stress axis is oriented 10° to 25° east of north. Reverse faulting along the north segment indicates that a transition zone of mostly compressive deformation exists between the Los Angeles block and the Central Transverse Ranges.

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