Characterizing Recent Slip on the Kuikui Fault, a Link Between the Green Valley and Bartlett Springs Fault Zones, Wilson Valley, Northern California.

Thursday, 18 December 2014
James J Lienkaemper1, Stephen B DeLong2, Robert C McPherson3, Jody Mielke3, Nikita Avdievitch2, Alexandra Pickering2 and Christopher Lloyd4, (1)USGS Western Regional Offices Menlo Park, Menlo Park, CA, United States, (2)US Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA, United States, (3)Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA, United States, (4)Bureau of Land Management, Ukiah, CA, United States
The Green Valley and Bartlett Springs faults (GVF-BSF) together form the third largest branch of the dextral San Andreas transform fault system in northern California. Wilson Valley lies at the center of a tectonic pull-apart basin formed in the 2.5-km stepover between the Hunting Creek fault (northernmost section of the GVF) and the Highway-20 section of the BSF. A major regional drainage, Cache Creek flows through this depression and has been offset ~6 km right-laterally by the GVF-BSF during the Quaternary. We recently discovered the Kuikui fault, a dextral-oblique slip fault within the stepover, using high-resolution imagery from LiDAR acquired by USGS in 2011 along major northern California fault zones (ARRA11_USGS, DOI: 10.5069/G9H70CRD, http://dx.doi.org/10.5069/G9H70CRD). The Kuikui fault is ~2-3 km in length and forms steep, well-preserved scarps up to ~2.5 m high. It has only subtle expression of dextral slip, so its ratio of dip slip to strike slip is uncertain.

Any evidence of large paleoearthquakes in the Wilson Valley stepover might indicate rupture of either the GVF or the BSF or both together, and timing information could be used to correlate events with other paleoseismic sites on the fault system. Additionally, fault creep has been documented on both the Highway 20 and Hunting Creek fault sections, so that any fault offset on the Kuikui fault might also include some aseismic slip. Because wilderness regulations required manual excavation, several participants from USGS, HSU, other colleagues and volunteers together dug an 8-m long by ≤1 m deep trench by hand to expose faulting in thin layers of alluvium deposited across the Kuikui fault. The youngest, and currently active soil layer is vertically offset by a minimum of 7 cm on a single fault strand. A much broader fault zone suggests larger movement has occurred. This exposure did not allow us to discriminate whether slip occurred as creep or by dynamic rupture. Future additional exposures may better distinguish evidence of creep from seismogenic ruptures. Pending radiocarbon dates may partially constrain when this slip occurred.