Abstract

Regional gravity data in the northern San Francisco Bay region reflect a complex basin configuration beneath the Santa Rosa plain that likely contributed to the significant damage to the city of Santa Rosa caused by the 1969 M 5.6, 5.7 Santa Rosa earthquakes and the 1906 M 7.9 San Francisco earthquake. Inversion of these data indicates that the Santa Rosa plain is underlain by two sedimentary basins about 2 km deep separated by the Trenton Ridge, a shallow west-northwest-striking bedrock ridge west of Santa Rosa. The city of Santa Rosa is situated above the 2- km-wide protruding northeast corner of the southern basin where damage from both the 1969 and 1906 earthquakes was concentrated. Ground-motion simulations of the 1969 and 1906 earthquakes, two events with opposing azimuths, using the gravity- defined basin surface, show enhanced ground motions along the northeastern edge of this corner, suggesting that basin-edge effects contributed to the concentration of shaking damage in this area in the past and may also contribute to strong shaking during future earthquakes.

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