ABSTRACT

The largest earthquake since 1954 to strike the state of Nevada, United States, ruptured on 15 May 2020 along the Monte Cristo range of west‐central Nevada. The Mw 6.5 event involved predominantly left‐lateral strike‐slip faulting with minor normal components on three aligned east–west‐trending faults that vary in strike by 23°. The kinematic rupture process is determined by joint inversion of Global Navigation Satellite Systems displacements, Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) data, regional strong motions, and teleseismic P and SH waves, with the three‐fault geometry being constrained by InSAR surface deformation observations, surface ruptures, and relocated aftershock distributions. The average rupture velocity is 1.5  km/s, with a peak slip of 1.6  m and a 20  s rupture duration. The seismic moment is 6.9×1018  N·m. Complex surface deformation is observed near the fault junction, with a deep near‐vertical fault and a southeast‐dipping fault at shallow depth on the western segment, along which normal‐faulting aftershocks are observed. There is a shallow slip deficit in the Nevada ruptures, probably due to the immature fault system. The causative faults had not been previously identified and are located near the transition from the Walker Lane belt to the Basin and Range province. The east–west geometry of the system is consistent with the eastward extension of the Mina Deflection of the Walker Lane north of the White Mountains.

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