Global Positioning System constraints on fault slip rates in the Death Valley region, California and Nevada

R. A. Bennett, B. P. Wernicke, J. L. Davis, P. Elósegui, J. K. Snow, M. J. Abolins, M. A. House, G. L. Stirewalt, D. A. Ferrill

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32 Scopus citations

Abstract

We estimated horizontal velocities at 15 locations in the vicinity of Yucca Mountain, Nevada, from Global Positioning System surveys conducted between 1991 and 1996. We used these velocity estimates to infer slip rates on two major Quaternary faults within the eastern California shear zone (ECSZ), the Hunter Mountain and Death Valley faults. The sum of slip rates across the two faults is well determined at 5 ± 1 mm/yr (1-σ). Between 3 to 5 mm/yr of this motion appears to be accommodated along the Death Valley fault, implying 30-50 m of strain accumulation over the next 10,000 yr. If so, there is potential for 5 to 10 Mw 6.5-7.5 earthquakes during this period, a finding consistent with paleoseismological studies of the fault zone. Yucca Mountain, which lies 50 km east of the ECSZ, is the proposed location for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number97GL02951
Pages (from-to)3073-3076
Number of pages4
JournalGeophysical Research Letters
Volume24
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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    Bennett, R. A., Wernicke, B. P., Davis, J. L., Elósegui, P., Snow, J. K., Abolins, M. J., House, M. A., Stirewalt, G. L., & Ferrill, D. A. (1997). Global Positioning System constraints on fault slip rates in the Death Valley region, California and Nevada. Geophysical Research Letters, 24(23), 3073-3076. [97GL02951]. https://doi.org/10.1029/97GL02951