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Source parameters for the 1952 Kern County earthquake, California: A joint inversion of leveling and triangulation observations

Authors

  • Gerald W. Bawden


Abstract

Coseismic leveling and triangulation observations are used to determine the faulting geometry and slip distribution of the July 21, 1952, Mw 7.3 Kern County earthquake on the White Wolf fault. A singular value decomposition inversion is used to assess the ability of the geodetic network to resolve slip along a multisegment fault and shows that the network is sufficient to resolve slip along the surface rupture to a depth of 10 km. Below 10 km, the network can only resolve dip slip near the fault ends. The preferred source model is a two-segment right-stepping fault with a strike of 51° and a dip of 75° SW. The epicentral patch has deep (6–27 km) left-lateral oblique slip, while the northeastern patch has shallow (1–12.5 km) reverse slip. There is nearly uniform reverse slip (epicentral, 1.6 m; northeast, 1.9 m), with 3.6 m of left-lateral strike slip limited to the epicentral patch. The seismic moment is M0 = 9.2 ± 0.5 × 1019 N m (Mw = 7.2). The signal-to-noise ratio of the leveling and triangulation data is reduced by 96% and 49%, respectively. The slip distribution from the preferred model matches regional geomorphic features and may provide a driving mechanism for regional shortening across the Comanche thrust and structural continuity with the Scodie seismic lineament to the northeast.

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