Abstract

On 22 October 1916, a moderate earthquake occurred in the vicinity of Tejon Pass and was felt over much of southern California. An intriguing aspect of this event involves reports of ground cracks that formed during the earthquake. We evaluate the reports of ground cracking and attempt to precisely locate the cracks with respect to active faults; we infer that the earthquake produced minor fault rupture along a newly discovered trace of the easternmost Lockwood Valley fault (formerly mapped as the easternmost Big Pine fault) and/or along the San Andreas fault. We also re-evaluate and present new intensity data, and we use a grid-search algorithm (derived from empirical analysis of modern earthquakes) to find the magnitude most consistent with the reported intensities. Although previous authors have attempted to use intensity data to constrain the magnitude of this event, the algorithm we use provides an alternative and statistically more robust determination of the magnitude. Our results suggest M 5.6 (-0.3/+0.2) (at 95% confidence) for the 1916 event, which is consistent with earlier work. The 1916 earthquake appears to have been a rare and remarkable event in terms of its size and location and the production of minor surface rupture.

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