Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair(s)

Susanne U Janecke


Susanne U Janecke


James P. Evans


Anthony Lowry


The Clark fault is one of the primary dextral faults in the San Jacinto fault zone system, southern California. Previous mapping of the Clark fault at its southern termination in the San Felipe Hills reveals it as a broad right lateral shear zone that ends north of the crossing, northeast-striking, left-lateral Extra fault. We investigate the relationship between the dextral Clark fault and the sinistral Extra fault to determine whether the Clark fault continues to the southeast. We present new structural, geophysical and geomorphic data that show that the Extra fault is a ~7 km wide, coordinated fault array comprised of four to six left-lateral fault zones. Active strands of the Clark fault zone persists through the Extra fault array to the Superstition Hills fault in the subsurface and rotate overlying sinistral faults in a clockwise sense. New detailed structural mapping between the San Felipe and Superstition Hills confirms that there is no continuous trace of the Clark fault zone at the surface but the fault zone has uplifted an elongate region ~950 km. sq. of latest Miocene to Pleistocene basin-fill in the field area and far outside of it. Detailed maps and cross sections of relocated microearthquakes show two earthquake swarms, one in 2007 and another in 2008 that project toward the San Felipe Hills, Tarantula Wash and Powerline strands of the dextral Clark fault zone in the San Felipe Hills, or possibly toward the parts of the Coyote Creek fault zone. We interpret two earthquake swarms as activating the San Jacinto fault zone beneath the Extra fault array. These data coupled with deformation patterns in published InSAR data sets suggest the presence of possible dextral faults at seismogenic depths that are not evident on the surface.

We present field, geophysical and structural data that demonstrate dominantly left-lateral motion across the Extra fault array with complex motion on secondary strands in damage zones. Slickenlines measured within three fault zones in the Extra fault array reveal primarily strike-slip motion on the principal fault strands. Doubly-plunging anticlines between right-stepping en echelon strands of the Extra fault zone are consistent with contraction between steps of left-lateral faults and are inconsistent with steps in dominantly normal faults. Of the 21 published focal mechanisms for earthquakes in and near the field area, all record strike-slip and only two have a significant component of extension. Although the San Sebastian Marsh area is dominated by northeast-striking leftlateral faults at the surface, the Clark fault is evident at depth beneath the field area, in rotated faults, in microseismic alignments, and deformation in the Sebastian uplift. Based on these data the Clark fault zone appears to be continuous at depth to the Superstition Hills fault, as Fialko (2006) hypothesized with more limited data sets.



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