Paleoseismic Studies of the Peninsula San Andreas Fault at the Filoli Estate, Woodside, California
Thursday, 18 December 2014
The Peninsula section of the San Andreas Fault (SAFP) is within 10 km of downtown San Francisco, making it among the most significant sources of seismic hazard in the San Francisco Bay area. However, the history of earthquakes along this fault segment is poorly known. The most recent ground-rupturing earthquake occurred in 1906, but the dates of earlier surface-rupturing earthquakes on this segment remain uncertain. Earlier work at the Crystal Springs South trench site showed that a ground-rupturing paleo-earthquake occurred 830-930 Cal. yr BP, but poor stratigraphic resolution hampered our ability to determine whether or not earthquakes occurred between then and 1906. We combined existing airborne LiDAR data with newly-collected terrestrial laser scanner data to create a high-resolution digital elevation model that we used to guide the locations of two trenches at a new site near Scarp Creek on the Filoli Estate, about 0.5km to the southeast along the fault. The new trenches exposed a stratigraphic section of faulted fluvial, overbank, and lacustrine deposits overlying a massive colluvial deposit. Our preliminary results show evidence for at least three surface ruptures, including the 1906 earthquake, since deposition of the colluvial material. Preliminary radiocarbon analyses show that these three earthquakes occurred during the last 900 years. We expect that radiocarbon analyses of samples of the abundant organic material exposed in the trenches will constrain more closely the ages of the prehistoric events. In addition, we anticipate that additional work at this site will provide an opportunity to test our earlier results and will provide additional data to better constrain the timing of pre-1906 surface ruptures on the SAFP.