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A blind thrust earthquake occurs along a thrust fault that does not show signs on the Earth's surface, hence the designation "blind".Such faults, being invisible at the surface, have not been mapped by standard surface geological mapping. Sometimes they are discovered as a by-product of oil exploration seismology; in other cases their existence is not suspected.
Although such earthquakes are not amongst the most energetic, they are sometimes the most destructive, as conditions combine to form an urban earthquake which greatly affects urban seismic risk.
A blind thrust earthquake is quite close, in meaning, to a buried rupture earthquake, if a buried rupture earthquake is not specifically about the fault, but signs the earthquake leaves, on the Earth's surface.
Blind thrust faults generally exist near tectonic plate margins, in the broad disturbance zone. They form when a section of the Earth's crust is under high compressive stresses, due to plate margin collision, or the general geometry of how the plates are sliding past each other.
As shown in the diagram, a weak plate under compression generally forms thrusting sheets, or overlapping sliding sections. This can form a hill and valley landform, with the hills being the strong sections, and the valleys being the highly disturbed thrust faulted and folded sections. After a long period of erosion the visible landscape may be flattened, with material eroded from the hills filling up the valleys and hiding the underlying hill-and-valley geology. The valley rock is very weak and usually highly weathered, presenting deep, fertile soil; naturally, this is the area that becomes populated. Reflection seismology profilesshow the disturbed rock that hides a blind thrust fault.
If the region is under active compression these faults are constantly rupturing, but any given valley might only experience a large earthquake every few hundred years. Although usually of magnitude 6 to 7 compared to the largest magnitude 9 earthquakes of recent times, such a temblor is especially destructive because the seismic waves are highly directed, and the soft basin soil of the valley can amplify the ground motions tenfold or more.
It is said[ by whom? ] that blind thrust earthquakes contribute more to urban seismic risk than the 'big ones' of magnitude 8 or more.
The San Andreas Fault is a continental transform fault that extends roughly 1,200 kilometers (750 mi) through California. It forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, and its motion is right-lateral strike-slip (horizontal). The fault divides into three segments, each with different characteristics and a different degree of earthquake risk. The slip rate along the fault ranges from 20 to 35 mm /yr.
The Los Angeles Basin is a sedimentary basin located in southern California, in a region known as the Peninsular Ranges. The basin is also connected to an anomalous group of east-west trending chains of mountains collectively known as the California Transverse Ranges. The present basin is a coastal lowland area, whose floor is marked by elongate low ridges and groups of hills that is located on the edge of the Pacific Plate. The Los Angeles Basin, along with the Santa Barbara Channel, the Ventura Basin, the San Fernando Valley, and the San Gabriel Basin, lies within the greater southern California region. On the north, northeast, and east, the lowland basin is bound by the Santa Monica Mountains and Puente, Elysian, and Repetto hills. To the southeast, the basin is bordered by the Santa Ana mountains and the San Joaquin Hills. The western boundary of the basin is marked by the Continental Borderland and is part of the onshore portion. The California borderland is characterized by northwest trending offshore ridges and basins. The Los Angeles Basin is notable for its great structural relief and complexity in relation to its geologic youth and small size for its prolific oil production. Yerkes et al. identify five major stages of the basin's evolution, which began in the Upper Cretaceous and ended in the Pleistocene. This basin can be classified as an irregular pull-apart basin accompanied by rotational tectonics during the post-early Miocene.
The 1857 Fort Tejon earthquake occurred at about 8:20 a.m. on January 9 in central and Southern California. One of the largest recorded earthquakes in the United States, with an estimated moment magnitude of 7.9, it ruptured the southern part of the San Andreas Fault for a length of about 225 miles, between Parkfield and Wrightwood.
An interplate earthquake is an earthquake that occurs at the boundary between two tectonic plates. Earthquakes of this type account for more than 90 percent of the total seismic energy released around the world. If one plate is trying to move past the other, they will be locked until sufficient stress builds up to cause the plates to slip relative to each other. The slipping process creates an earthquake with relative displacement on either side of the fault, resulting in seismic waves which travel through the Earth and along the Earth's surface. Relative plate motion can be lateral as along a transform fault boundary, vertical if along a convergent boundary or a divergent boundary, and oblique, with horizontal and lateral components at the boundary. Interplate earthquakes associated at a subduction boundary are called megathrust earthquakes, which are the most powerful earthquakes.
The Garlock Fault is a left-lateral strike-slip fault running northeast–southwest along the north margins of the Mojave Desert of Southern California, for much of its length along the southern base of the Tehachapi Mountains.
The Newport–Inglewood Fault is a right-lateral strike-slip fault in Southern California. The fault extends for 47 miles (76 km) from Culver City southeast through Inglewood and other coastal communities to Newport Beach at which point the fault extends east-southeast into the Pacific Ocean where it is known as the Rose Canyon Fault. The fault can be inferred on the Earth's surface as passing along and through a line of hills extending from Signal Hill to Culver City. The fault has a slip rate of approximately 0.6 millimeter/year (0.02 in/year) and is predicted to be capable of a 6.0–7.4 magnitude earthquake on the moment magnitude scale. A 2017 study concluded that, together, the Newport–Inglewood Fault and Rose Canyon Fault could produce an earthquake of 7.3 or 7.4 magnitude.
The 1977 San Juan earthquake, also known as Caucete earthquake, took place in the province of San Juan, Argentina, on 23 November at 09:26:26 AM. It measured 7.4 on the surface wave magnitude scale, and had a maximum perceived intensity of IX (Violent) on the Mercalli intensity scale.
The 1992 Landers earthquake occurred on June 28 with an epicenter near the town of Landers, California. The shock had a moment magnitude of 7.3 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent).
Earthquake forecasting is a branch of the science of seismology concerned with the probabilistic assessment of general earthquake seismic hazard, including the frequency and magnitude of damaging earthquakes in a given area over years or decades. While forecasting is usually considered to be a type of prediction, earthquake forecasting is often differentiated from earthquake prediction, whose goal is the specification of the time, location, and magnitude of future earthquakes with sufficient precision that a warning can be issued. Both forecasting and prediction of earthquakes are distinguished from earthquake warning systems, which upon detection of an earthquake, provide a real-time warning to regions that might be affected.
The San Jacinto Fault Zone (SJFZ) is a major strike-slip fault zone that runs through San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial Counties in Southern California. The SJFZ is a component of the larger San Andreas transform system and is considered to be the most seismically active fault zone in the area. Together they relieve the majority of the stress between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates.
The Puente Hills Fault is an active geological fault that is located in the Los Angeles Basin in California. The thrust fault was discovered in 1999 and runs about 40 km (25 mi) in three discrete sections from the Puente Hills region in the southeast to just south of Griffith Park in the northwest. The fault is known as a blind thrust fault, as the fault plane does not extend to the surface. Large earthquakes on the fault are relatively infrequent but computer modeling has indicated that a major event could have substantial impact in the Los Angeles area. The fault is now thought to be responsible for one moderate earthquake in 1987 and another light event that took place in 2010, with the former causing considerable damage and deaths.
The 1911 Kebin earthquake, or Chon-Kemin earthquake, struck Russian Turkestan on 3 January. Registering at a 7.7 magnitude, it killed 452 people, destroyed more than 770 buildings in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and resulted in 125 miles (201 km) of surface faulting in the valleys of Chon-Kemin, Chilik and Chon-Aksu.
The Brawley Seismic Zone (BSZ), also known as the Brawley fault zone, is a predominantly extensional tectonic zone that connects the southern terminus of the San Andreas Fault with the Imperial Fault in Southern California. The BSZ is named for the nearby town of Brawley in Imperial County, California, and the seismicity there is characterized by earthquake swarms.
The 1940 El Centro earthquake occurred at 21:35 Pacific Standard Time on May 18 in the Imperial Valley in southeastern Southern California near the international border of the United States and Mexico. It had a moment magnitude of 6.9 and a maximum perceived intensity of X (Extreme) on the Mercalli intensity scale. It was the first major earthquake to be recorded by a strong-motion seismograph located next to a fault rupture. The earthquake was characterized as a typical moderate-sized destructive event with a complex energy release signature. It was the strongest recorded earthquake to hit the Imperial Valley, and caused widespread damage to irrigation systems and led to the deaths of nine people.
The 1949 Karlıova earthquake occurred at 18:44 UTC on 17 August with an epicenter near Karlıova in Bingöl Province, Eastern Anatolia Region of Turkey. It had an estimated magnitude of 6.7, a maximum felt intensity of X (Extreme) on the Mercalli intensity scale, and caused 320–450 casualties.
The 1930 Irpinia earthquake occurred at 00:08 UTC on 23 July, chiefly in an area known as Irpinia. It had a surface wave magnitude of 6.6 and a maximum intensity of X . The event caused 1,404 deaths and 4,624–7,000 injuries. The epicenter was near the boundaries between the regions of Basilicata, Apulia, and Campania.
The 1948 Desert Hot Springs earthquake occurred on December 4 at 3:43 p.m. Pacific Standard Time with a moment magnitude of 6.4 and a maximum Mercalli intensity of VII. The shock was felt from the central coast of California in the north, and to Baja California in the south, and came at a time when earthquake research in southern California was being resumed following the Second World War. It was one of two events in the 20th century that have occurred near a complex region of the southern San Andreas Fault System where it traverses the San Gorgonio Pass and the northern Coachella Valley. Damage was not severe, but some serious injuries occurred, and aftershocks continued until 1957.
The 1981 Playa Azul earthquake occurred on October 24, 1981, at 21:22 local time. It was located near Playa Azul, Michoacán, Mexico. The magnitude of the earthquake was Mw 7.2, or Ms 7.3. Three deaths were reported, two from Michoacán and one from Mexico City. Some buildings were damaged in both Michoacán and Mexico City. A small tsunami was registered in Acapulco with a maximum height of 9 cm.
The 1930 Pyu earthquake occurred on December 4 at 01:21 local time. The epicenter was located north to Bago, Burma, then part of British India. The magnitude of the earthquake was estimated at Mw 7.3, or Ms 7.3.
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