A Caltech Library Service

Slip along the San Andreas fault associated with the great 1857 earthquake

Sieh, Kerry (1978) Slip along the San Andreas fault associated with the great 1857 earthquake. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 68 (5). pp. 1421-1448. ISSN 0037-1106.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Historical records indicate that several meters of lateral slip along the San Andreas fault accompanied the great 1857 earthquake in central and southern California. These records, together with dendrochronological evidence, suggest that the rupture occurred along 360 to 400+ km of the fault, including several tens of kilometers of the currently creeping reach in central California. Geomorphic expressions of late Holocene right-lateral offsets are abundant along the 1857 rupture. Along 300 kilometers of the 1857 rupture, between Cholame and Wrightwood, the youngest discernible offset ranges from 3 to 9 1/2 meters. Dormancy of the fault since 1857 almost certainly indicates that this latest offset was created in 1857. Fault slip apparently associated with the 1857 earthquake varies in a broadly systematic way along the trace of the fault. It is relatively uniform along each of several long segments, but changes rather abruptly in value between these segments. This nonuniform displacement pattern may imply that some segments of the fault rupture more frequently or experience a slower long-term slip rate than others. The 1857 offsets indicate a seismic moment, m_o, between 5.3 and 8.7 × 10^(27) dyne-cm, assuming a 10- to 15-km depth of rupture and relatively uniform slip as a function of depth. A comparison with the rupture length, average slip value, and tectonic setting of the California earthquake of 1906 (M_s = 8 1/4) indicates a value of M = 8 1/4 + for the 1857 event.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Sieh, Kerry0000-0002-7311-2447
Additional Information:© 1978 Seismological Society of America. Manuscript received September 28, 1977. I am especially grateful to Dick Jahns for his guidance and counsel during the formulation and execution of this work and to Clarence Allen, Malcolm Clark, Bob Sharp, and Bob Wallace for their help and advice. Assistance from and discussions with other friends, relatives, and colleagues too numerous to mention by name were critical to the completion of this report, and I am thankful for their interest and help. U.S. Geological Survey Contract 14-08-0001-15225 supported this study, and a grant from the Stanford University Geology Department Shell Fund enabled preliminary investigations.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Stanford University Geology Department Shell FundUNSPECIFIED
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Caltech Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences3151
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140917-130334445
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:49783
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:18 Sep 2014 02:58
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

Repository Staff Only: item control page