Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 171, Issue 11, pp 2955–2965 | Cite as

Large Earthquake Hazard of the San Jacinto Fault Zone, CA, from Long Record of Simulated Seismicity Assimilating the Available Instrumental and Paleoseismic Data

  • G. ZöllerEmail author
  • Y. Ben-Zion


We investigate spatio-temporal properties of earthquake patterns in the San Jacinto fault zone (SJFZ), California, between Cajon Pass and the Superstition Hill Fault, using a long record of simulated seismicity constrained by available seismological and geological data. The model provides an effective realization of a large segmented strike-slip fault zone in a 3D elastic half-space, with heterogeneous distribution of static friction chosen to represent several clear step-overs at the surface. The simulated synthetic catalog reproduces well the basic statistical features of the instrumental seismicity recorded at the SJFZ area since 1981. The model also produces events larger than those included in the short instrumental record, consistent with paleo-earthquakes documented at sites along the SJFZ for the last 1,400 years. The general agreement between the synthetic and observed data allows us to address with the long-simulated seismicity questions related to large earthquakes and expected seismic hazard. The interaction between m ≥ 7 events on different sections of the SJFZ is found to be close to random. The hazard associated with m ≥ 7 events on the SJFZ increases significantly if the long record of simulated seismicity is taken into account. The model simulations indicate that the recent increased number of observed intermediate SJFZ earthquakes is a robust statistical feature heralding the occurrence of m ≥ 7 earthquakes. The hypocenters of the m ≥ 5 events in the simulation results move progressively towards the hypocenter of the upcoming m ≥ 7 earthquake.


Earthquake dynamics Earthquake interaction, forecasting, and prediction Statistical seismology Seismicity and tectonics 



The manuscript benefitted from the constructive comments of two anonymous reviewers. Figure 1a has been produced with the GMT software of Wessel and Smith (1991). GZ acknowledges support from the Potsdam Research Cluster for Georisk Analysis, Environmental Change and Sustainability (PROGRESS). YBZ acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation (grant EAR-0908903).


  1. Ben-Zion, Y. (1996), Stress, slip, and earthquakes in models of complex single-fault systems incorporating brittle and creep deformations, J. Geophys. Res. 101, 5677–5706.Google Scholar
  2. Ben-Zion, Y. (2008), Collective behavior of earthquakes and faults: Continuum-discrete transitions, evolutionary changes and corresponding dynamic regimes, Rev. Geophys, 46, RG4006, doi: 10.1029/2008RG000260.
  3. Ben-Zion, Y. (2012), Episodic tremor and slip on a frictional interface with critical zero weakening in elastic solid, Geophys. J Int. 189, 1159–1168, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2012.05422.x.
  4. Ben-Zion, Y., Eneva, M., and Liu, Y. (2003), Large Earthquake Cycles And Intermittent Criticality On Heterogeneous Faults Due To Evolving Stress And Seismicity, J. geophys. Res. 108, 2307, doi: 10.1029/2002JB002121.
  5. Ben-Zion, Y., and Rice, J. R. (1993), Earthquake Failure Sequences Along a Cellular Fault Zone in a 3D Elastic Solid Containing Asperity and Non-Asperity Regions, J. geophys. Res. 98, 14,109–14,131.Google Scholar
  6. Epstein, B., and Lomnitz, C. (1966), A model for the occurrence of large earthquakes, Nature 211, 954–956.Google Scholar
  7. Fialko, Y. (2006), Interseismic strain accumulation and the earthquake potential on the southern San Andreas fault system, Nature 441, 968–971.Google Scholar
  8. Hauksson, E., Yang, W., and Shearer, P. M. (2012), Waveform Relocated Earthquake Catalog for Southern California (1981 to 2011), Bull. seism. Soc. Am. 102, 2239–2244, doi: 10.1785/0120120010.
  9. Hutton, K., Woessner, J., and Hauksson, E. (2010), Earthquake monitoring in Southern California for Seventy-Seven years (1932-2008), Bull. seism. Soc. Am. 100, 423-446, doi: 10.1785/0120090130.
  10. Mehta, A. P., Dahmen, K. A., and Ben-Zion, Y. (2006), Universal mean moment rate profiles of earthquake ruptures, Phys. Rev. E., 73, 056104.Google Scholar
  11. Okada, Y. (1992), Internal deformation due to shear and tensile faults in a half space, Bull. seism. Soc. Am. 82, 1018–1040.Google Scholar
  12. Onderdonk, N. W., Rockwell, T. K., McGill, S. F., and Marliyani, G. (2013), Evidence for seven surface ruptures in the past 1600 years on the Claremont fault at Mystic Lake, northern San Jacinto fault zone, California, Bull. seism. Soc. Am. 103, 519–541, doi: 10.1785/0120120060.
  13. Pollitz, F. F. (2011), Epistemic uncertainty in California-wide synthetic seismicity simulations, Bull. seism. Soc. Am. 101, 2481–2498, doi: 10.1785/0120100303.
  14. Reasenberg, P. (1985), Second-order moment of central California seismicity, J. geophys. Res. 90, 5479–5495.Google Scholar
  15. Richards-Dinger, K., and Dieterich, J. H. (2012), RSQSim Earthquake simulator, Seismol. Res. Lett., 83, 983–990, doi: 10.1785/0220120105.
  16. Robinson, R., Van Dissen, R., and Litchfield, N. (2011), Using synthetic seismicity to evaluate seismic hazard in the Wellington region, New Zealand, Geophys. J Int. 187, 510–528, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2011.05161.x.
  17. Rockwell, T. K., T. E. Dawson, J. Young and Gordon Seitz (2014), A 21 event, 4,000-year history of surface ruptures in the Anza Seismic Gap, San Jacinto Fault: Implications for long-term earthquake production on a major plate boundary fault, Pure Appl. Geophys., in review.Google Scholar
  18. Rockwell, T. K., Seitz, G., Dawson, T., and Young, J. (2006), The long record of San Jacinto fault paleoearthquakes at Hog Lake: Implications for regional patterns of strain release in the southern San Andreas fault system, Seismol. Res. Lett. 77, 270.Google Scholar
  19. Rockwell, T., Loughman, C., and Merifield, P. (1990), Late Quaternary rate of slip along the San Jacinto fault zone near Anza, Southern California, J. geophys. Res. 95, 8593–8605.Google Scholar
  20. Shearer, P. M., Prieto, G. A., and Hauksson, E. (2006), Comprehensive analysis of earthquake source spectra in southern California, J. geophys. Res. 11, B06303, doi: 10.1029/2005JB003979.
  21. Tullis, T. E., Richards-Dinger, K., Barall, M., Dieterich, J. H., Field, E. H., Heien, E. M., Kellogg, L. H., Pollitz, F. F., Rundle, J. B., Sachs, M. K., Turcotte, D. L., Ward, S. N., and Yikilmaz, M. B. (2012), Generic Earthquake Simulator, Seismol. Res. Lett. 83, 959–963, doi: 10.1785/0220120093.
  22. Wells, D. L. and Coppersmith, K. J. (1994), New empirical relationships among magnitude, rupture length, rupture width, rupture area, and surface displacement, Bull. seism. Soc. Am. 84, 974–1002.Google Scholar
  23. Wessel, P. and Smith, W. H. F. (1991), Free software helps map and display data, Eos Trans. AGU 72, 441.Google Scholar
  24. Zöller, G., Ben-Zion, Y., Holschneider, M. and Hainzl, S. (2007), Estimating recurrence times and seismic hazard of large earthquakes on an individual fault, Geophys. J Int. 170, 1300–1310, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-246X.2007.03480.x.
  25. Zöller, G., Hainzl, S., Ben-Zion, Y., and Holschneider, M. (2006), Earthquake activity related to seismic cycles in a model for a heterogeneous strike-slip fault, Tectonophysics, 423, 137–145, doi: 10.1016/j.tecto.2006.03.007
  26. Zöller, G. Hainzl, S., and Holschneider, M. (2008), Recurrent large earthquakes in a fault region: What can be inferred from small and intermediate events? Bull. seism. Soc. Am. 98, 2641–2651, doi: 10.1785/0120080146.
  27. Zöller, G. Hainzl, S., Holschneider, M., and Ben-Zion, Y. (2005), Aftershocks resulting from creeping sections in a heterogeneous fault, Geophys. Res. Lett. 32, L03308, 137–145, doi: 10.1029/2004GL021871
  28. Zöller, G., Hainzl, S., Ben-Zion, Y., and Holschneider, M. (2009), Critical states of seismicity: From models to practical seismic hazard estimates, Encyclopedia of Complexity and System Science, R. Meyers (Eds.) 9, 7853–7872, Springer.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Basel 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of MathematicsUniversity of PotsdamPotsdamGermany
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations