Time‐Invariant Late Quaternary Slip Rates Along the Agua Blanca Fault, Northern Baja California, Mexico

Peter O. Gold, W M. Behr, J M. Fletcher, T K. Rockwell, & P M. Figueiredo

Published September 2, 2020, SCEC Contribution #9240

Fault slip rates inform models of strain accumulation and release, which over geologic time may vary or remain constant depending on factors like structural complexity, fault strength, deformation rates, and proximity to other faults. In this study, we present a Late Pleistocene–Holocene slip history based on four new geologic slip rates for the Agua Blanca Fault (ABF), which transfers Pacific-North American dextral plate boundary motion across the Peninsular Ranges of northern Baja California. Time-averaged slip rates from three sites are 2.8 + 0.8/−0.6 mm/a since ~65.1 ka, 3.0 + 1.4/−0.8 mm/a since ~21.8 ka, 3.2 + 1.0/−0.6 mm/a since ~12.5 ka, and 3.5 + 5.1/−2.0 mm/a since ~1.4 ka; however, the actual slip rate may be closer to 4 mm/a when off-fault slip and age interpretation uncertainties are considered. Significantly, although the ABF has more in common in terms of length, net offset, and slip rate with known variable slip rate faults, the most straightforward age and offset interpretations for the ABF suggest constant slip rates over ~10 kyr time scales. As with other constant slip rate faults, comparable neighboring faults that might modulate the ABF slip rate are absent, suggesting that fault interaction, or lack thereof, may be a more significant factor controlling fault behavior on this and potentially other faults. The new rates indicate that the ABF accommodates at least half of total slip across the Peninsular Ranges, clarifying strain partitioning for seismic forecasting models that previously lacked modern geologic slip rate constraints for this domain of the plate boundary.

Gold, P. O., Behr, W. M., Fletcher, J. M., Rockwell, T. K., & Figueiredo, P. M. (2020). Time‐Invariant Late Quaternary Slip Rates Along the Agua Blanca Fault, Northern Baja California, Mexico. Tectonics, 39(9). doi: 10.1029/2019TC005788.