The Rainbow Mountain area was the site of three surface-rupturing earthquakes on 6 July and 23 August 1954. More than 50 field measurements of surface offsets constrain the distribution of slip along the discontinuous and distributed rupture zone that formed during the earthquake sequence. Vertical offsets reach a maximum of ∼0.8 m with the average vertical offset being ∼0.2 m. In contrast to original reports, we see evidence for a right-lateral component of slip along portions of the rupture zone, including offset stream channels (0.5-1.0 m), left-stepping en echelon scarps, and a well-preserved, 100-m-long mole track. The right-slip component is consistent with focal plane solutions for the events and recent geodetic results. Previously unmapped surface ruptures now extend the known rupture length of the sequence by 25 km to a total of 70 km. Surface ruptures along the previously unmapped Fourmile Flat fault are subparallel to and form a 10-km left step to the southeast of the Rainbow Mountain fault. Event locations and anecdotal information indicate that the Fourmile Flat ruptures represent minor, primary surface rupture associated with the large 6 July aftershock, triggered ∼11 hr after the initial 6 July Rainbow Mountain event.
The paleoseismic histories of the Rainbow Mountain and Fourmile Flat faults, as recorded in natural and trench exposures, are different although both faults experienced three post ∼15-ka surface rupturing events, including 1954. Bracketing ages for triultimate events on both faults do not overlap. However, constraints on the penultimate event for the Rainbow Mountain and triultimate event for the Fourmile Flat fault do overlap slightly, allowing the possibility that they may have ruptured close in time as in 1954. The Holocene slip rate for the Fourmile Flat fault (0.40 mm/yr) is similar to the post-latest Pleistocene rate for the Rainbow Mountain fault (0.20-0.46 mm/yr) even though the total length of the Fourmile flat (10 km) is much shorter than the overall length of the Rainbow Mountain rupture zone (∼60 km), indicating that even minor faults can be important for assessing regional strain rates and patterns.