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Published April 1978 | Published
Journal Article Open

Elsinore fault seismicity: The September 13, 1973, Agua Caliente Springs, California, earthquake series


A relatively small M_L = 4.8 earthquake and its aftershock series on the southern portion of the Elsinore Fault Zone in eastern San Diego County, California, provided a rare opportunity to study an area that has been subjected to variable tectonic interpretations in the past. Within 12 to 26 hours after the main shock, a network of four portable seismograph stations was established around the main event near Agua Caliente Springs to supplement the stations of the Southern California Seismographic Network. Four days after the main shock, seven additional portable seismograph stations were installed. In addition to the main event, 45 subsequent events were studied, ranging in magnitude from about 1.0 to 3.7. Of these, 36 could be termed aftershocks by their close proximity to the main event, whose proper location was determined by analysis of the aftershock series. Of the two branches of the Elsinore Fault in this region, the south branch is associated with the earthquake series. Focal mechanisms are consistent with right-lateral strike-slip along the south branch, with northeast dip at latitude 32°51′N. These conclusions are supported by hypocentral locations. Thrust activity on the two fault branches may be developing a horst between them, accounting for elevation and tilt changes observed near Agua Caliente.

Additional Information

Copyright © 1978, by the Seismological Society of America. Manuscript received August 12, 1977. The authors thank the Caltech personnel who helped to organize and perform the field installations. This work was partially supported by the Caltech Earthquake Research Affiliates and by grants from the U. S. Geological Survey, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the University of California, Riverside Intramural Fund. We also thank Standard Oil Company of California for help in preparation of this manuscript and illustrations. Ellen McLean critically reviewed the paper and provided many helpful suggestions.

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August 19, 2023
October 17, 2023