Abstract

The 1994 Double Spring Flat earthquake (MW 5.8) occurred within a densely faulted step-over between the Genoa and Antelope Valley faults, two principal normal faults of the transition zone between the Basin and Range Province and the northern Sierra Nevada. The earthquake created zones of ground cracks from 0.1 to 2.8 km long along at least five northwest- to north-northwest-striking faults in the epicentral area. Individual cracks had extensional openings generally from 1 to 10 mm wide. No cracks displayed obvious vertical separation, and only one zone showed permissive evidence of right-lateral separation. Over the 8 days following the mainshock (the period over which the cracks were found), aftershocks formed a dominant northeast trend suggesting the earthquake occurred along a northeast-striking structure. However, no ground breakage was found along faults striking parallel to this northeast aftershock alignment, and subsequent aftershocks formed a conjugate northwest trend. Based on the location and character of the five zones, the observed cracks are attributed to secondary fault slip and shaking effects. The earthquake also created ground cracks along at least two faults 15-25 km from the epicenter. In both of these cases, the faults had documented histories of prior ground cracking, indicating that they are particularly susceptible to such triggered deformation.

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