Abstract

The epicenter of the 2000 ML 5.2 Yountville earthquake was located 5 km west of the surface trace of the West Napa fault, as defined by Helley and Herd (1977). On the basis of the re-examination of geologic data and the analysis of potential field data, the earthquake occurred on a strand of the West Napa fault, the main basin-bounding fault along the west side of Napa Valley. Linear aeromagnetic anomalies and a prominent gravity gradient extend the length of the fault to the latitude of Calistoga, suggesting that this fault may be capable of larger-magnitude earthquakes. Gravity data indicate an ∼2-km-deep basin centered on the town of Napa, where damage was concentrated during the Yountville earthquake. It most likely played a minor role in enhancing shaking during this event but may lead to enhanced shaking caused by wave trapping during a larger-magnitude earthquake.

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