Abstract

The high level of seismic activity and the potential for large earthquakes in the San Jacinto fault zone, southern California, make it desirable to have accurate locations and source parameters for as many previous events as possible. Prior to the installation of a dense seismic network in this region, earthquakes were located using only a few stations with generally poor azimuthal coverage resulting in considerable uncertainty in the locations. We relocate and obtain moment estimates for historic (pre-WWSSN) earthquakes in the western Imperial Valley by comparing the waveforms and travel times with recent earthquakes in the region. All the events are in the ML 5.5 to 6.5 range. The historic earthquakes of interest occurred in 1937, 1942, and 1954. We use the 1968 Borrego Mountain, 1969 Coyote Mountain, and 1987 Elmore Ranch earthquakes as calibration events. We employ regional and teleseismic data from continuously operating stations, with Pasadena, DeBilt, Berkeley, Ottawa, and St. Louis recording most of the events. The waveforms imply that all the events are almost pure strike-slip events on vertical or near-vertical faults. Approximate values for the strikes were obtained and are within the range of observed strikes for well-studied earthquakes in this region. The earthquakes are relocated by comparing S-P and surface-wave - S travel times of historic events with the presumably well-located recent events. The relocations require only a small change in location for the 1954 event and a larger adjustment in the 1942 epicenter. It also appears that the 1969 earthquake may have been mislocated. The moment estimates are obtained by direct comparison of the maximum amplitudes. The moment estimates imply that the 1968 and not the 1942 earthquake is the largest to have occurred in the region this century. Previous magnitude estimates suggested the 1942 event was larger.

First Page Preview

First page PDF preview
You do not currently have access to this article.