Today is the commemoration of the 1994 M 6.7 Northridge Earthquake. I was living in Arcata at the time (actually in my school bus in a driveway to save money). I remember calling my mom from a pay phone to talk about the earthquake (I did not have a phone at the time; turns out Pac Bell did not want to install a phone in my bus and I probably could not afford it anyways). She lived in Long Beach, but the damage affected the entirety of southern California.
I put together a commemorative #EarthquakeReport interpretive poster to discuss the tectonics of the region. The San Andreas fault (SAF) system is the locus of ~75% of the Pacific-North America plate boundary motion. The SAF is in some places a mature fault with a single strand and in other places, there are multiple strands (e.g. the Elsinore, San Jacinto, and SAF in southern CA or the Maacama, Bartlett Springs, and SAF in northern CA). In southern CA, the SAF makes a bend (called the “Big Bend”) that forms a region of compression. This compression is realized in the form of thrust faults and folds, creating uplift forming the mountain ranges like the Santa Monica Mountains. Some of these thrust faults breach the ground surface and some are blind (they don’t reach the surface).
In 1971 there was a large earthquake (M 6.7) that caused tremendous amounts of damage in southern CA. A hospital was built along one of the faults and this earthquake caused the hospital to collapse killing many people. The positive result of this earthquake is that the Alquist Priolo Act was written and passed in the state legislature. I plot the moment tensor for the 1971 earthquake (Carena and Suppe, 2002).
Then, over 2 decades later, there was the M 6.7 Northridge Earthquake. This earthquake was very damaging. Here is a page that links to some photos of the damage. I plot the moment tensor for this earthquake in my interpretive poster below.
Below the 2017 report, see the UPDATE from 2019, the 25 Year Commemoraion
Below is my interpretive poster for this earthquake.
I plot the seismicity from the past month, with color representing depth and diameter representing magnitude (see legend).
- I placed a moment tensor / focal mechanism legend on the poster. There is more material from the USGS web sites about moment tensors and focal mechanisms (the beach ball symbols). Both moment tensors and focal mechanisms are solutions to seismologic data that reveal two possible interpretations for fault orientation and sense of motion. One must use other information, like the regional tectonics, to interpret which of the two possibilities is more likely. The moment tensor shows northeast-southwest compression, perpendicular to the compression at the “Big Bend.”
- I also include the shaking intensity contours on the map. These use the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale (MMI; see the legend on the map). This is based upon a computer model estimate of ground motions, different from the “Did You Feel It?” estimate of ground motions that is actually based on real observations. The MMI is a qualitative measure of shaking intensity. More on the MMI scale can be found here and here. This is based upon a computer model estimate of ground motions, different from the “Did You Feel It?” estimate of ground motions that is actually based on real observations.
- I plot the fault lines from the USGS Quaternary Fault and Fold Database. I include a legend showing how colors represent the USGS estimates for the most recent activity along each of these faults. More can be found about this database here.
- 1971.02.09 M 6.7 Sylmar/San Fernando
- 1994.01.17 M 6.7 Northridge
Here are the USGS websites for these two earthquakes.
- In the upper right corner is a map of the faults in southern CA (Tucker and Dolan, 2001). Strike-slip faults (like the SAF) have arrows on either side of the fault desginating the relative motion across the fault. Thrust faults have triangle barbs showing the convergence direction (the triangles are on the side of the fault that is dipping into the Earth).
- To the left of this fault map is a low-angle oblique block diagram showing the configuration of thrust faults in the region of the Big Bend. These thrust faults are forming the topography in southern CA. The 1971 and 1994 earthquakes occurred along thrust faults similar to the ones shown in this block diagram.
- In the lower right corner is a figure that shows some historic earthquakes in this region (Hauksson et al., 1995). The upper panel shows the affected areas from these earthquakes in hatchured polygons. The lower panel shows the focal mechanisms for these earthquakes.
- In the upper left corner I include the USGS “Did You Feel It?” shakemap. This map uses the MMI scale mentioned above. These are results from the USGS DYFI reporting website. So, these are real observations, compared to the MMI contours in the main map, which is based upon ground motion modeling of the earthquake.
- Below the DYFI map is a cross section of seismicity associated with the 1971 and 1994 earthquakes (Tsutsumi and Yeats, 1994). 1971 main and aftershocks are in blue and 1994 main and aftershocks are in red. Note how both earthquakes occurred along blind thrust faults. Also note that these faults were dipping in opposite directions (1971 dips to the north (south vergent) and 1994 dips to the south (north vergent).
- In the lower left corner is another figure showing the aftershocks from the 1971 and 1994 earthquakes (Fuis et al., 2003). On the left panel is their seismic velocity model (with fault interpretations) and on the right panel shows the seismicity plotted on the velocity model. I present this figure below.
I include some inset figures in the poster.
Some Relevant Discussion and Figures
- Here is the fault map from Tucker and Dolan (2001).
Regional neotectonic map for metropolitan southern California showing major active faults. The Sierra Madre fault is a 75-km-long active reverse fault that extends along the northern edge of the metropolitan region. Fault locations are from Ziony and Jones (1989), Vedder et al. (1986), Dolan and Sieh (1992), Sorlien (1994), and Dolan et al. (1997, 2000b). Closed teeth denote reverse fault surface trace; open teeth on dashed lines show upper edge of blind thrust fault ramps. Strike-slip fault surface traces shown by double arrows. Star denotes location of Oak Hill paleoseismologic trench site of Bonilla (1973). CSI, Clamshell-Sawpit fault; ELATB, East Los Angeles blind thrust system; EPT, Elysian park blind thrust fault; Hol Fl, Hollywood fault; PHT, Puente Hills blind thrust fault; RMF, Red Mountain fault; SCII, Santa Cruz Island fault; SSF, Santa Susana fault; SJcF, San Jacinto fault; SJF, San Jose fault; VF, Verdugo fault; A, Altadena study site of Rubin et al. (1998); LA, Los Angeles; LB, Long Beach; LC, La Crescenta; M, Malibu; NB, Newport Beach; Ox, Oxnard; P, Pasadena; PH, Port Hueneme; S, Horsethief Canyon study site in San Dimas; V, Ventura. Dark shading denotes mountains.
- This is a figure that is based upon Fuis et al. (2001) as redrawn by UNAVCO that shows the orientation of thrust faults in this region of southern CA. Below the block diagram is a map showing the location of their seismic experiment (LARSE = Line 1; Fuis et al., 2003).
Schematic block diagram showing interpreted tectonics in vicinity of LARSE line 1. Active faults are shown in orange, and moderate and large earthquakes are shown with orange stars and attached dates, magnitudes, and names. Gray half-arrows show relative motions on faults. Small white arrows show block motions in vicinities of bright reflective zones A and B (see Fig. 2A). Large white arrows show relative convergence direction of Pacific and North American plates. We interpret a master decollement ascending from bright reflective zone A at San Andreas fault, above which brittle upper crust is imbricating along thrust and reverse faults and below which lower crust is flowing toward San Andreas fault (brown arrows) and depressing Moho. Fluid injection, indicated by small lenticular blue areas, is envisioned in bright reflective zones A and B.
Shaded relief map of Los Angeles region, southern California, showing Quaternary faults (thin black lines, dotted where buried), shotpoints (gray and orange filled circles), seismographs (gray and orange lines), air-gun bursts (dashed yellow lines), and epicenters of earthquakes .M 5.8 since 1933 (focal mechanisms with attached magnitudes: 6.7a—Northridge [Hauksson et al., 1995], 6.7b—San Fernando [Heaton, 1982], 5.9—Whittier Narrows [Hauksson et al., 1988], 5.8—Sierra Madre [Hauksson, 1994], 6.3—Long Beach [Hauksson, 1987]). Faults are labeled in red; abbreviations: HF—Hollywood fault, MCF—Malibu Coast fault, MHF—Mission Hills fault, NHF—Northridge Hills fault, RF—Raymond fault, SF—San Fernando surface breaks, SSF—Santa Susana fault, SMoF—Santa Monica fault, SMFZ—Sierra Madre fault zone, VF—Verdugo fault. NH is Newhall.
- Here are the figures from Hauksson et al. (1995) showing the regions effected by earthquakes in southern CA.
(A) Significant earthquakes of M >= 4.8 that have occurred in the greater Los Angeles basin area since 1920. Aftershock zones are shaded with cross hatching, including the 1994 Northridge earthquake. Dotted areas indicate surface rupture, including the rupture of the 1857 earthquake along the San Andreas fault. (B) Lower hemisphere focal mechanisms (shaded quadrants are compressional) for significant earthquakes that have occurred since 1933 in the greater Los Angeles area.
- Here is the seismicity cross section plot from Tsutsumi and Yeats (1999).
Cross section down to 20 km depth across the central San Fernando Valley, including the 1971 Sylmar and 1994 Northridge earthquake zones. See Figure 2 for location of the section and Figure 3 for stratigraphic abbreviations. Wells are identified in the Appendix. Aftershock data for the 1971 (blue) and 1994 (red) earthquakes within a 10-km-wide strip including the line of this section are provided by Jim Mori at Kyoto University. Abbreviation for faults: MHF, Mission Hills fault; NHF, Northridge Hills fault; SSF, Santa Susana fault.
- Here is the figure from Fuis et al. (2003) showing their interpretation of seismic data from the region. These data are from a seismic experiment also plotted in the map above. The panel on the left is A and the panel on the right is B. This is their figure 3.
Cross section along part of line 2 with superposition of various data layers. A: Tomographic velocity model plus line drawing extracted from reflection data (see text); heavier black lines represent better-correlated or higher-amplitude phases. B: Velocity model plus relocated aftershocks of 1971 San Fernando and 1994 Northridge earthquakes (brown and blue dots, respectively); main shock focal mechanisms (far hemispheres) are red (San Fernando; Heaton, 1982) and blue (Northridge; Hauksson et al., 1995). Aftershocks are projected onto line 2 from up to 10 km east.
- This is a smaller scale cross section from Fuis et al. (2003) showing a broader view of the faults in this region. This shows the velocity model color legend that also applies to the above figure. This is their figure 4.
Similar to Fig. 3, with expanded depth and distance frame. See caption for Fig. 3 for definition of red, magneta, and blue lines; orange line—interpreted San Andreas fault (SAF); yellow lines—south-dipping reflectors of Mojave Desert and northern Transverse Ranges; “K” —reflection of Cheadle et al. (1986), which is out of plane of this section. SAF is not imaged directly; interpretation is based on approximate northward termination of upper reflections (best constrained) in San Fernando reflective zone (magenta lines). (See similar interpretation for SAF on line 1—Fig. 5.) Wells shown in Mojave Desert are (s) H&K Exploration Co., (t) Meridian Oil Co. (Dibblee, 1967). For well color key, see caption for Fig. 3. Thin, dashed yellow-orange line—estimated base of Cenozoic sedimentary rocks in Mojave Desert based on velocity. Darker, multicolored region (above region of light violet) represents part of velocity model where resolution ≥ 0.4 (see color bar).
- Here is a fascinating figure from Carena and Suppe (2002) showing the 3-dimensional configuration of the faults involved in the 1971 and 1994 earthquakes.
Perspective view, looking from the SE, of the modeled Northridge and San Fernando thrusts. The Northridge thrust stops at a depth of about 6 km, and its upper tip east of the lateral ramp (Fig. 4) terminates almost against the San Fernando thrust, as was suggested by Morti et al. (1993). The San Fernando thrust loser tip is at a depth o 13 km, whereas the Northridge thrust lower tip is at 32 km.
- Here is a map view of the Carena and Suppe (2002) interpretation of these fault planes.
Schematic geological map showing the position of the main faults and folds, as well as the depth contours (contour interval = 1 km) of the Northridge (solid) and San Fernando (dashed) thrusts.
- Here is a structural cross section across this region (Carena and Suppe, 2002).
Cross-section through the San Fernando Valley with projected aftershocks of the 1994 Northridge earthquake and of the 1971 Sylmar earthquake. The Northridge aftershocks are projected from a distance of 1 km or less on each side of the cross-section (main shock projected from 2 km W), whereas those of the Sylmar earthquake are projected from 1.5 km or less (main shock projected from 5 km ESE). The sources that we used for near-surface geology and structure are Dibblee (1991) and a seismic line (Fig. 11). The large N-S changes in Upper Tertiary stratigraphic thicknesses in this region (Dibblee, 1991, 1992a), prevent detailed stratigraphic correlation across fault blocks (this figure and Fig. 12). This face suggests that the shallow faults and possible the deeper San Fernando thrust itself, are reactivating old normal faults of the southern margin of the Ventura Basin (Yeats, et al., 1994; Huftle and Yeats, 1996; Tsutsumi and Yeats, 1999). Location of cross-section is in Fig. 13.
UPDATE 2019.01.17 25 Year Commemoration
I present some updates to this earthquake report for the 17 January 1994 M 6.7 Northridge Earthquake. First I present a new poster with some updated figures, then I review some of the new knowledge that we have gained over the years since 1994.
I presented a Temblor post about what would happen if there were a repeat of the Northridge earthquake today, during the partial federal government shutdown. Here is that article.
Below are two interpretive posters that allow one to compare the shaking intensities from the 1994 Northridge earthquake and an hypothetical earthquake on several segments of the southern San Andreas fault.
I won’t review the background for this poster as it includes the same background information as the poster I made 2 years ago (read above).
I include some of the major earthquakes in the region, including a mechanism for the 1993 M = 6.4 Long Beach earthquake (Hauksson and Gross, 1991).
- In the upper left corner is a figure that shows (A) GPS velocities and remote sensing (InSAR) based surface velocities, (B) a cross section showing how these plate motions result in compression, and (C) a low angle oblique block model view of the tectonic blocks configured to accommodate the plate motions (Daout et al., 2016).
- In the lower left corner is a low angle oblique view of the San Andreas fault and other faults that are underlying much of the LA basin and its millions of inhabitants (Daout et al., 2016).
- In the upper right corner is a figure from Rollins et al. (2018) that shwos the fault geometry, GPS plate motion rates, and historic earthquake mechanisms for the LA basin.
- In the lower right corner shows how much plate motion is proportioned onto the different major blind thrust faults in the southland.
I include some inset figures in the poster.
I present the poster in 2 formats. First we see the USGS shakemap from the 1994 quake. Then we see a shakemap from a “scenario” earthquake, an earthquake of size that we speculate to occur on several segments of the San Andreas fault.
The USGS prepares scenario earthquakes so that we have an estimate of the potential for damage to people and their belongings from an earthquake of a given size in a given location. Here is an interface that allows one to browse all of the USGS scenario earthquakes.
- This is the map showing shaking intensities from the 1994 earthquake.
- This is the map showing shaking intensities from an hypothetical M = 7.89 southern San Andreas earthquake.
- Here is the Daout et al. (2016) introduction figure. Note the large remote sensing velocities (LOS) in the LA basin.
Seismotectonic setting of the Southern California fault system. (a) GPS data in the ITRF08 reference frame highlighting a uniform velocity field despite the complex three-dimensional geometry of the faults systems. InSAR velocitiy map is derived from Envisat descending track 170 [from Liu et al., 2014]. Black rectangle defines the profile perpendicular to the SAF. Major strikes-slip faults including the San Andreas Fault (SAF), Whittier Fault (WF), San Jacinto Fault (SJF), and the Elsinore Fault (EF) are in black. Major thrust faults including the Sierra Madre Thrust fault (SMT), the Elysian Park Thrust (EPT), the Puente Hills Thrusts (PHT), San Gorgonio Pass (SGP), and the North Frontal Thrusts (NFT) are in red. (b) Simplified kinematic sketch illustrating how the obliquity of the SAF creates a local shortening (red vector) between the Mojave Block (MB) and Los Angeles (LA). (c) Simplified three-dimensional model across the profile PP′ illustrating how the geometry of the ramp-décollement system partitions the uniform velocity field and controls the amount of shortening and uplift along the various blocks.
- This figure shows how they modeled the subsurface faults and how their model results fit the remote sensing (InSAR) and GPS data. They used a Bayesian statistical technique, which is why there are so many possible fault geometries in panel B.
Comparison between the prior and posterior models. (a) Two-dimensional prior model based on the tectonic review along the profile PP′ defined in Figure 1. Black lines (red dashed lines, respectively) represent slipping (locked, respectively) sections of the faults; arrows indicate relative direction of the movement on faults. The SAF is associated with two thick black dashed lines and a question mark as we have no constraints of its deep geometry. We use this configuration and the conservation of motion along each junction to explore the various parameters defined in this figure. Insert is a simplified two-dimensional block model illustrating the relation between the block geometries and longitudinal velocities along the structures. (b) Posterior geometries in agreement with the data (blue lines) and average geometry (black lines). (c) InSAR LOS velocities (grey points) and GPS projected in the LOS direction (black squares) and average model obtained. (d) Profile-perpendicular (blue markers), profile-parallel (green markers), and vertical (red markers) GPS velocities with their associated uncertainties. Average model obtained (blue, green, and red lines) along profiles.
- Here is the block model from Daout et al. (2016) that shows their modeled fault slip rates for each of these faults.
Three-dimensional schematic block model across the SGM [after Fuis et al., 2001b] superimposed to the digital elevation model, the seismicity (yellow dots), the Moho model (red line), and interpreted active faults summarizing the average interseismic strike-slip (back arrows) and dip-slip (red arrows) rates extracted from the Bayesian exploration. Shallow faults (dashed lines) that formed a complex three-dimensional system at the surface [Plesch et al., 2007] are locked during the interseismic period, while the ramp-décollement system (solid lines) decouples the upper crust from the lower crust and partitioned the observed uniform velocity field (blue vector) at the downdip end of the
- Here are the GPS observations used by Rollins et al. (2018) to conduct their study evaluating the seismogenic locking on the blind thrust faults (like the Puente Hills Thrust) beneath Los Angeles. These faults may pose a greater hazard to Angelinos than the San Andreas fault. Take another look at the two interpretive posters above. Chekc out the shaking in the LA basin from both the 1994 Northridge quake and the Scenario San Sandreas fault earthquake. You may notice a slight increase in shaking intensity from the 1994 earthquake. Note: the Puente Hills Thrust is even closer to the LA Basin than the Northridge quake. The Compton fault, similar to the Puente Hills, is hypothesized to generate a M = 7.45 earthquake, which would release a substantially larger earthquake than in 1994.
(a) Tectonics and shortening in the Los Angeles region. Dark blue arrows are shortening-related GPS velocities relative to the San Gabriel Mountains (Argus et al., 2005). Contours are uniaxial strain rate (rate of change of εxx) in the N ~5° E direction estimated from the GPS using the method of Tape et al. (2009). Background shading is the shear modulus at 100-m depth in the CVM*, a heterogeneous elastic model based on the Community Velocity Model (Süss & Shaw, 2003; Shaw et al., 2015) that we create and use in this study (section 4). Black lines are upper edges of faults, dashed for blind faults. Epicenters of the 1971, 1987, and 1994 earthquakes are from Southern California Earthquake Data Center; focal mechanisms are from Heaton (1982) for 1971 and Global CMT Catalog for 1987 and 1994. Profile A-A0 follows LARSE line 1 (Fuis et al., 2001) onshore and line M-M0 of Sorlien et al. (2013) offshore. SGF = San Gabriel Fault; SSF = Santa Susana Fault. VF = Verdugo Fault. SAF = San Andreas Fault. CuF = Cucamonga Fault. A-DF = Anacapa-Dume Fault. SMoF = Santa Monica Fault. HF = Hollywood Fault. RF = Raymond Fault. UEPF = Upper Elysian Park Fault. ChF = Chino Fault. WF = Whittier Fault. N-IF = Newport-Inglewood Fault. PVF = Palos Verdes Fault. (b) GPS velocities on islands. (c) Tectonic setting. Black lines and pairs of half-arrows, respectively, are major faults and their slip senses. Black arrow is Pacific Plate velocity relative to North American plate from Kreemer et al. (2014). GF = Garlock Fault. SJF = San Jacinto Fault. EF = Elsinore Fault. SB = Santa Barbara. LA = Los Angeles. SD = San Diego.
- Here is a cross section showing the fault geometry used by Rollins et al. (2018).
(a) Cross sections of faults, structure, north-south contraction, and seismicity along profile A-A0 . Red lines are fault surfaces as meshed here (Figure 3), dashed where uncertain (Shaw & Suppe, 1996; Shaw & Shearer, 1999; Fuis et al., 2012). Geometries of basin, basement, and mantle are from Shaw et al. (2015); geometry of base of Fernando Formation (boundary between beige and tan units of the basin) is interpolated from Sorlien et al. (2013; offshore), Wright (1991; coastline to Whittier Fault), and Yeats (2004; Whittier Fault to Sierra Madre Fault); topography is from Fuis et al. (2012). (b) Projections of Argus et al. (2005) GPS velocities (relative to San Gabriel Mountains) onto the direction N 5° E and 1σ uncertainties. Note that stations on Palos Verdes are plotted left of the coastline as the offshore section of profile A-A0 passes alongside Palos Verdes (Figure 1a). (c) Seismotectonic features. Distribution of shear modulus is from the CVM*, the heterogeneous elastic model used in this study (section 4). Translucent white circles are relocated 1981–2016 M ≥ 2 earthquakes whose epicenters lie within the mesh area of the three thrust faults and decollement (Hauksson et al., 2012 and updated). PVF = Palos Verdes Fault; N-IF = Newport-Inglewood Fault; WF = Whittier
- This is a great map showing the depth of the faults in the region from Rollins et al. (2018).
Meshed geometries of the three main thrust faults beneath the Los Angeles basin (section 4), colored by depth, and 1981–2016 M ≥ 2.5 earthquakes within the mesh area from Hauksson et al. (2012 and updated), scaled by magnitude (white-filled circles). Gray-filled circles are 1981–2016 M ≥ 4.5 earthquakes outside the mesh area. Inferred paleoearthquakes are from Rubin et al. (1998) and Leon et al. (2007, 2009). SAF = San Andreas Fault.
- There are a great many more fantastic details about the Rollins et al. (2018) analysis in their paper, so please read it (search for the preprint that is lurking around online). This map is the main summary figure, showing the amount of seismic energy (moment deficit) that each fault accumulates each year. Warmer colors mean that the fault is accumulating more strain each year. The more strain that is accumulated, the more energy could potentially be released during an earthquake. Some suggest that larger strain accumulation rates may also lead to more frequent earthquakes, but this is a complicated issue and we don’t know yet what the real answer is… so exciting.
Estimates of moment deficit accumulation rate from combining the four interseismic strain accumulation models. (a) Spatial distribution of moment deficit accumulation rate per area. (Values are on the order of ~108 N m -1 yr -1 as the moment deficit accumulation rate per patch is on the order of 1015 N m -1 yr -11 [Figure S11] and the patches are a few kilometers (a few thousand meters) on a side.) (b) Unified PDF of moment deficit accumulation rate (dark blue object) formed by combining the PDFs from the four strain accumulation models. The PDF would follow the red curve if strain accumulation updip of the tips of the Puente Hills and Compton faults (PHF and CF) were counted.
- 2017.12.14 M 4.3 Laytonville
- 2016.11.06 M 4.1 Laytonville, CA
- 2016.11.03 M 3.8 Laytonville, CA
- 2016.08.10 M 5.1 Lake Pillsbury, CA
- 2016.02.23 M 4.9 Bakersfield
- 2015.12.30 M 4.4 San Bernardino, CA
- 2015.05.03 M 3.8 Los Angeles, CA
- 2015.04.13 M 3.3 Los Angeles, CA
- 2016.08.04 M 4.5 Honey Lake, CA
San Andreas fault
- 2018.04.05 M 5.3 Channel Islands
- 2018.04.05 M 5.3 Channel Islands Update #1
- 1994.11.17 M 6.7 Northridge, CA
- 1971.02.09 M 6.7 Sylmar, CA
- For more on the graphical representation of moment tensors and focal mechnisms, check this IRIS video out:
- Here is a fantastic infographic from Frisch et al. (2011). This figure shows some examples of earthquakes in different plate tectonic settings, and what their fault plane solutions are. There is a cross section showing these focal mechanisms for a thrust or reverse earthquake. The upper right corner includes my favorite figure of all time. This shows the first motion (up or down) for each of the four quadrants. This figure also shows how the amplitude of the seismic waves are greatest (generally) in the middle of the quadrant and decrease to zero at the nodal planes (the boundary of each quadrant).
- Here is another way to look at these beach balls.
The two beach balls show the stike-slip fault motions for the M6.4 (left) and M6.0 (right) earthquakes. Helena Buurman's primer on reading those symbols is here. pic.twitter.com/aWrrb8I9tj
— AK Earthquake Center (@AKearthquake) August 15, 2018
- There are three types of earthquakes, strike-slip, compressional (reverse or thrust, depending upon the dip of the fault), and extensional (normal). Here is are some animations of these three types of earthquake faults. The following three animations are from IRIS.
- This is an image from the USGS that shows how, when an oceanic plate moves over a hotspot, the volcanoes formed over the hotspot form a series of volcanoes that increase in age in the direction of plate motion. The presumption is that the hotspot is stable and stays in one location. Torsvik et al. (2017) use various methods to evaluate why this is a false presumption for the Hawaii Hotspot.
- Here is a map from Torsvik et al. (2017) that shows the age of volcanic rocks at different locations along the Hawaii-Emperor Seamount Chain.
A cutaway view along the Hawaiian island chain showing the inferred mantle plume that has fed the Hawaiian hot spot on the overriding Pacific Plate. The geologic ages of the oldest volcano on each island (Ma = millions of years ago) are progressively older to the northwest, consistent with the hot spot model for the origin of the Hawaiian Ridge-Emperor Seamount Chain. (Modified from image of Joel E. Robinson, USGS, in “This Dynamic Planet” map of Simkin and others, 2006.)
Hawaiian-Emperor Chain. White dots are the locations of radiometrically dated seamounts, atolls and islands, based on compilations of Doubrovine et al. and O’Connor et al. Features encircled with larger white circles are discussed in the text and Fig. 2. Marine gravity anomaly map is from Sandwell and Smith.
- Carena, S. and Supper, J., 2002. Three-dimensional imaging of active structures using earthquake aftershocks: the Northridge thrust, California in Journal of Structural Geology, v. 24, p. 887-904.
- Daout, S., S. Barbot, G. Peltzer, M.-P. Doin, Z. Liu, and R. Jolivet, 2016. Constraining the kinematics of metropolitan Los Angeles faults with a slip-partitioning model in Geophys. Res. Lett., v. 43, p. 11,192–11,201 doi:10.1002/2016GL071061.
- Fuis, G.S>, Ryberg, T., Godfrey, N.J>, Okaya, D.A., and Murphy, J.M., 2001. Crustal structure and tectonics from the Los Angeles basin to the Mojave Desert, southern California in Geology, v. 29, no. 1. p. 15-18.
- Fuis, G.S. et al., 2003. Fault systems of the 1971 San Fernando and 1994 Northridge earthquakes, southern California: Relocated aftershocks and seismic images from LARSE II in Geology, v. 31, no. 2, p. 171-174.
- Hauksson, E. and Gross, S., 1991, Source Parameters of the 1933 Long Beach Earthquake in BSSA, v. 81, no. 1., p. 81-98
- Hauksson, E., Jones, L.M., and Hutton, K., 1995. The 1994 Northridge earthquake sequence in California: Seismological and tectonic aspects in Journal of Geophysical Research, v., 100, no. B7, p. 12235-12355.
- Rollins, C., Avouac, J.-P., Landry, W., Argus, D. F., & Barbot, S. (2018). Interseismic strain accumulation on faults beneath Los Angeles, California. Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth, 123. https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JB015387
- Tsutsumi, H. and Yeats, R.S., 1999. Tectonic Setting of the 1971 Sylmar and 1994 Northridge Earthquakes in the San Fernando Valley, California in BSSA, v. 89, p. 1232-1249.
- Tucker, A.Z. and Dolan, J.F., 2001. Paleoseismologic Evidence for a 8 Ka Age of the Most Recent Surface Rupture on the Eastern Sierra Madre Fault, Northern Los Angeles Metropolitan Region, California in BSSA, v. 91, no. 2, p. 232-249.