Using SLAM to Look For the Dog Valley Fault, Truckee Area, California

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Vincent S Cronin1, Jeremy A. Ashburn1 and Keith A Sverdrup2, (1)Baylor University, Waco, TX, United States, (2)University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI, United States
The Truckee earthquake (9/12/1966, ML6.0) was a left-lateral event on a previously unrecognized NW-trending fault. The Prosser Creek and Boca Dams sustained damage, and the trace of the suspected causative fault passes near or through the site of the then-incomplete Stampede Dam. Another M6 earthquake occurred along the same general trend in 1948 with an epicenter in Dog Valley ~14 km to the NW of the 1966 epicenter. This trend is called the Dog Valley Fault (DVF), and its location on the ground surface is suggested by a prominent but broad zone of geomorphic lineaments near the cloud of aftershock epicenters determined for the 1966 event. Various ground effects of the 1966 event described by Kachadoorian et al. (1967) were located within this broad zone.

The upper shoreface of reservoirs in the Truckee-Prosser-Martis basin are now exposed due to persistent drought. We have examined fault strands in a roadcut and exposed upper shoreface adjacent to the NE abutment of Stampede Dam. These are interpreted to be small-displacement splays associated with the DVF -- perhaps elements of the DVF damage zone.

We have used the Seismo-Lineament Analysis Method (SLAM) to help us constrain the location of the DVF, based on earthquake focal mechanisms. Seismo-lineaments were computed, using recent revisions in the SLAM code (bearspace.baylor.edu/Vince_Cronin/www/SLAM/), for the 1966 main earthquake and for the better-recorded earthquakes of 7/3/1983 (M4) and 8/30/1992 (M3.2) that are inferred to have occurred along the DVF. Associated geomorphic analysis and some field reconnaissance identified a trend that might be associated with a fault, extending from the NW end of Prosser Creek Reservoir ~32° toward the Stampede Dam area. Triangle-strain analysis using horizontal velocities of local Plate Boundary Observatory GPS sites P146, P149, P150 and SLID indicates that the area rotates clockwise ~1-2°/Myr relative to the stable craton, as might be expected because the study area is within the Walker Lane transition zone between the Basin and Range and the Sierra Nevada-Great Valley Block. If the current seismogenic trace of the DVF is along the ~32° trend, perhaps the more prominent geomorphic lineaments traditionally associated with the DVF are inactive older features that are more strongly expressed on the landscape and that have rotated.