Near-Field Investigations of the Landers Earthquake Sequence, April to July 1992

Science  09 Apr 1993:
Vol. 260, Issue 5105, pp. 171-176
DOI: 10.1126/science.260.5105.171


The Landers earthquake, which had a moment magnitude (Mw) of 7.3, was the largest earthquake to strike the contiguous United States in 40 years. This earthquake resulted from the rupture of five major and many minor right-lateral faults near the southern end of the eastern California shear zone, just north of the San Andreas fault. Its Mw 6.1 preshock and Mw 6.2 aftershock had their own aftershocks and foreshocks. Surficial geological observations are consistent with local and far-field seismologic observations of the earthquake. Large surficial offsets (as great as 6 meters) and a relatively short rupture length (85 kilometers) are consistent with seismological calculations of a high stress drop (200 bars), which is in turn consistent with an apparently long recurrence interval for these faults.

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