Re-evaluating fault zone evolution, geometry, and slip rate along the restraining bend of the southern San Andreas Fault Zone
Kim Blisniuk, San Jose State University
Julie Fosdick, University of Connecticut
Greg Balco, BGC
John Stone, University of Washington
This study presents new multi-proxy data to provide an alternative interpretation of the late –to–mid Quaternary evolution, geometry, and slip rate of the southern San Andreas fault zone, comprising of the Garnet Hill, Banning, and Mission Creek fault strands, along its restraining bend near the San Bernardino Mountains and San Gorgonio Pass. Present geologic and geomorphic studies in the region indicate that as the Mission Creek and Banning faults diverge from one another in the southern Indio Hills, the Banning Fault Strand accommodates the majority of lateral displacement across the San Andreas Fault Zone. In this currently favored kinematic model of the southern San Andreas Fault Zone, slip along the Mission Creek Fault Strand decreases significantly northwestward toward the San Gorgonio Pass. Along this restraining bend, the Mission Creek Fault Strand is considered to be inactive since the late –to–mid Quaternary (~500-150 kya) due to the transfer of plate boundary strain westward to the Banning and Garnet Hills Fault Strands, the Jacinto Fault Zone, and northeastward, to the Eastern California Shear Zone. Here, we present a revised geomorphic interpretation of fault displacement, initial 36Cl/10Be burial ages, sediment provenance data, and detrital geochronology from modern catchments and displaced Quaternary deposits that improve across-fault correlations. We hypothesize that continuous large–scale translation of this structure has occurred throughout its history into the present. Accordingly, the Mission Creek Fault Strand is active and likely a primary plate boundary fault at this latitude.