Document Type

Article

Date of Original Version

2015

Abstract

Changing conditions along plate boundaries are thought to result in the reactivation of preexisting structures. The offshore southern California Borderland has undergone dramatic adjustments as conditions changed from subduction tectonics to transform tectonics, including major Miocene oblique extension, followed by transpressional fault reactivation. However, consensus is still lacking about stratigraphic age models, fault geometry, and slip history for the near-offshore area between southern Los Angeles and San Diego (California, USA). We interpret an extensive data set of seismic reflection, bathymetric, and stratigraphic data from that area to determine the three-dimensional geometry and kinematic evolution of the faults and folds and document how preexisting structures have changed their activity and type of slip through time. The resulting structural representation reveals a moderately landward-dipping San Mateo–Carlsbad fault that converges downward with the steeper, right-lateral Newport-Inglewood fault, forming a fault wedge affected by Quaternary contractional folding. This fault wedge deformed in transtension during late Miocene through Pliocene time. Subsequently, the San Mateo–Carlsbad fault underwent 0.6–1.0 km displacement, spatially varying between reverse right lateral and transtensional right lateral. In contrast, shallow parts of the previously identified gently dipping Oceanside detachment and the faults above it appear to have been inactive since the early Pliocene. These observations, together with new and revised geometric representations of additional steeper faults, and the evidence for a pervasive strike-slip component on these nearshore faults, suggest a need to revise the earthquake hazard estimates for the coastal region.

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