Abstract

The (ML 5.8) Sierra Madre earthquake of 28 June 1991 occurred at a depth of 12 km under the San Gabriel Mountains of the central Transverse Ranges. Since at least 1932 this region had been quiescent for M ≧ 3. The mainshock focal mechanism derived from first-motion polarities exhibited almost pure thrust faulting, with a rake of 82° on a plane striking N62°E and dipping 50° to the north. The event appears to have occurred on the Clamshell-Sawpit fault, a splay of the Sierra Madre fault zone. The aftershock sequence following the mainshock occurred at a depth of 9 to 14 km and was deficient in small earthquakes, having a b value of 0.6. Twenty nine single-event focal mechanisms were determined for aftershocks of M > 1.5. The 4-km-long segment of the Clamshell-Sawpit fault that may have ruptured in the mainshock is outlined by several thrust focal mechanisms with an east-northeast-striking fault plane dipping to the north. To the west, several thrust aftershocks with east-striking nodal planes suggest some complexity in the aftershock faulting, such as a curved rupture surface. In addition, several strike-slip and normal faulting events occurred along the edges of the mainshock fault plane, indicating secondary tear faulting. The tectonic stress field driving the coexisting left-lateral strike-slip and thrust faults in the northern Los Angeles basin is north-south horizontal compression with vertical intermediate or minimum principal stress axis.

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