We derived a model for the co-seismic slip distribution on the faults which ruptured during the Landers earthquake sequence of 28 June 1992. The model is based on the inversion of surface geodetic measurements, primarily vector displacements measured using the Global Positioning System (GPS). The inversion procedure assumes that the slip distribution is to some extent smooth and purely right-lateral strike slip. For a given fault geometry, a family of solutions of varying smoothness can be generated.
We choose the optimal model from this family based on cross-validation, which measures the predictive power of the data, and the trade-off of misfit and roughness. Solutions which give roughly equal weight to misfit and smoothness are preferred and have certain features in common: (1) there are two main patches of slip, on the Johnson Valley fault, and on the Homestead Valley, Emerson, and Camp Rock faults; (2) virtually all slip is in the upper 10 to 12 km; and (3) the model reproduces the general features of the geologically measured surface displacements, without prior constraints on the surface slip. In all models, regardless of smoothing, very little slip is required on the fault that represents the Big Bear event, and the total moment of the Landers event is 9 · 1019 N-m. The nearly simultaneous rupture of multiple distinct faults suggests that much of the crust in this region must have been close to failure prior to the earthquake.