Late Quaternary alluviation and offset along the eastern Big Pine fault, southern California

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Geomorphology, ISSN: 0169-555X, Vol: 90, Issue: 1, Page: 1-10

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Stephen B. DeLong; Scott A. Minor; Lee J. Arnold
Elsevier BV
Earth and Planetary Sciences; Late; Quaternary; alluviation; offset; along; eastern; Big; Pine; fault; southern; California; Life Sciences; Physical Sciences and Mathematics; Social and Behavioral Sciences
article description
Determining late Quaternary offset rates on specific faults within active mountain belts is not only a key component of seismic hazard analysis, but sheds light on regional tectonic development over geologic timescales. Here we report an estimate of dip–slip rate on the eastern Big Pine oblique-reverse fault in the upper Cuyama Valley within the western Transverse Ranges of southern California, and its relation to local landscape development. Optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of sandy beds within coarse-grained alluvial deposits indicates that deposition of alluvium shed from the Pine Mountain massif occurred near the southern margin of the Cuyama structural basin at the elevation of the Cuyama River between 25 and 14 ka. This alluvial deposit has been offset ∼ 10 m vertically by the eastern Big Pine fault, providing a latest Quaternary dip–slip rate estimate of ∼ 0.9 m/ky based on a 50° fault dip. Incision of the adjacent Cuyama River has exposed a section of older Cuyama River sediments beneath the Pine Mountain alluvium that accumulated between 45 and 30 ka on the down-thrown footwall block of the eastern Big Pine fault. Corroborative evidence for Holocene reverse-slip on the eastern Big Pine fault is ∼ 1 m of incised bedrock that is characteristically exposed beneath 2–3.5 ka fill terraces in tributaries south of the fault. The eastern Big Pine fault in the Cuyama Valley area has no confirmed record of historic rupture; however, based on our results, we suggest the likelihood of multiple reverse-slip rupture events since 14 ka.