Research Articles

A 100-Year Average Recurrence Interval for the San Andreas Fault at Wrightwood, California

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  08 Jan 1993:
Vol. 259, Issue 5092, pp. 199-203
DOI: 10.1126/science.259.5092.199


Evidence for five large earthquakes during the past five centuries along the San Andreas fault zone 70 kilometers northeast of Los Angeles, California, indicates that the average recurrence interval and the temporal variability are significantly smaller than previously thought. Rapid sedimentation during the past 5000 years in a 150-meter-wide structural depression has produced a greater than 21-meter-thick sequence of debris flow and stream deposits interbedded with more than 50 datable peat layers. Fault scarps, colluvial wedges, fissure infills, upward termination of ruptures, and tilted and folded deposits above listric faults provide evidence for large earthquakes that occurred in A.D. 1857, 1812, and about 1700, 1610, and 1470.