Cascading and pulse-like ruptures during the 2019 Ridgecrest earthquakes in the Eastern California Shear Zone.


Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, 91125, USA. [Email]


On July 4 2019, a Mw 6.5 earthquake, followed 34 h later by a Mw 7.1 event, struck Searles Valley, California. These events are part of a long-lived cluster of historical earthquakes along the Eastern California Shear Zone (ECSZ) which started in 1872 and are associated with temporarily elevated strain rates. We find that the Mw 6.5 event initiated on a right-lateral NW striking fault and then ruptured a left-lateral fault to the surface. This event triggered right-lateral slip during the Mw 7.1 earthquake. It started as a bilateral, crack-like rupture on a segment brought closer to failure by the Mw 6.5 event. The rupture evolved to pulse-like as it propagated at a relatively slow velocity (2 km/s) along a segment that was unloaded by the Mw 6.5 event. It stopped abruptly at the Coso volcanic area and at the Garlock Fault and brought some neighbouring faults closer to failure.

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