3D Geometry of Fault Intersections in Central California: The Importance of Ultramafic Ophiolitic Rocks

Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 9:15 AM
Janet Tilden Watt1, David A Ponce2 and Samuel Y Johnson1, (1)USGS, Santa Cruz, CA, United States, (2)U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA, United States
Integrated geological and geophysical studies of three fault intersections in central California reveal an abundance of serpentinite and related ultramafic ophiolitic rocks in the subsurface; this is a significant discovery that not only constrains the geometry of structures, but also helps to explain fault development and fault behavior. We present and compare fault framework models from the Hayward-Calaveras, Calaveras-San Andreas, and Hosgri-Shoreline fault intersections and discuss the importance of ultramafic ophiolitic rocks and the implications for seismic hazard. Fault framework models were created based on integrated analysis of geology, potential-field, seismic-reflection, multibeam bathymetry, and seismicity data. In each case, ultramafic ophiolitic rocks have very limited surface expression, but are prevalent in the subsurface from ~1 to ~8 km depth. High-resolution aero- and marine-magnetic data are particularly important for determining the geometry of these strongly magnetic rock bodies and the faults along which they occur. At each fault intersection, the ultramafic ophiolitic rocks characterize a pre-existing structure that either promotes or represents a barrier to faulting, and significantly influences local deformation patterns. Although the faults at each intersection do not connect directly at the surface, combined geologic and geophysical data suggest that these faults connect in the subsurface either along a single through-going fault plane or along multiple splay faults. The continuity of these fault intersections at seismogenic depths suggests the possibility of a combined rupture that should be evaluated in future seismic hazard studies.