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Mexico Quake Studies Uncover Surprises for California
12.16.10
 
Contacts:

Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Alan Buis 818-354-0474
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Alan.buis@jpl.nasa.gov

Related links:

› View release
› UAVSAR site
› QuakeSim site
› John Fletcher (ppt - 22Mb)
› Eric Fielding (ppt - 11Mb)
› Jerry Treiman (ppt - 10Mb)
› Jay Parker (ppt - 11Mb)
Panelists:

-- John Fletcher, professor, Geology Department, Earth Sciences Division, Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education at Ensenada, Baja California (CICESE), Mexico
-- Eric Fielding, geophysicist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
-- Jerry Treiman, geologist, California Geological Survey, Los Angeles, Calif.
-- Jay Parker, geophysicist, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

On April 4, 2010, a long-locked segment of the boundary between the massive Pacific and North American tectonic plates ruptured violently just south of California's border with Mexico. While not "The Big One" that Southern Californians have long feared, the resulting magnitude 7.2 earthquake -- the region's largest in nearly 120 years -- was nonetheless an important earthquake. Felt throughout northern Baja California and a broad region of the American Southwest, the quake killed two, injured hundreds and caused substantial damage. But beyond its obvious physical effects, the quake has proven to be one of the most complex ever documented along the Pacific/North American tectonic plate margin, providing scientists a unique opportunity to better understand earthquake processes along this volatile plate boundary. New techniques of remote sensing and image analysis developed by NASA and other agencies have revealed numerous surprises about the quake and have greatly aided field geologists in mapping and understanding the rupture. In this briefing, observations of the quake and its aftermath by scientists at NASA, the U.S. Geological Survey, California Geological Survey and the Center for Scientific Research and Higher Education at Ensenada, Baja California, will be detailed, along with results of new data analyses that show how this quake has increased the potential for additional large earthquakes throughout Southern California.




John Fletcher

› View Full Presentation (ppt - 22Mb) Image 1

John Fletcher image presentation
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Surface rupture on the northern Pescadores Fault formed during the El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake that struck northern Baja California on April 4, 2010. Photo taken from a helicopter over the high portion of the Sierra Cucapah. View is looking toward the south east and surface is displaced 2-3 meeters (6-10 feet) at this locality. Image credit: John Fletcher




John Fletcher Image 2

Surface rupture on the Borrego Fault
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Surface rupture on the Borrego Fault produced during the El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake that struck northern Baja California on April 4, 2010. Geologists measuring displaced channel bottom. Approximately 3 meters of surface displacement occurred on this segment of the rupture. From left to right the geologists are Ronald Spelz, Eulalia Masana, and Tom Rockwell. Image credit: John Fletcher




Eric Fielding

› View Full presentation (ppt - 11Mb) Power Point Presentation

Movie

Eric Fielding image presentation
› Play movie (32Mb - mov)

Flight footage of NASA's Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR), which flies mounted below a NASA Gulfstream III aircraft from NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, Calif. UAVSAR data from repeat, precision-guided aircraft passes are combined through a technique called interferometry to map and monitor changes in Earth's surface such as those caused by earthquakes. Image credit: NASA DFRC




Eric Fielding Image 1

Eric Fielding image presentation
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Detailed UAVSAR ground motion image showing the shifting of the surface (with 5 cm/2 inch contours) during the April 4, 2010 earthquake and the first 9 days afterwards in the area of the newly discovered Yuha Fault.

Jerry Treiman Power Point Presentation

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Jerry Treiman Image 1

Jerry Treiman Image 1
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This UAVSAR image, covering the time period from October 21, 2009 to April 13, 2010, shows ground deformation that is largely a result of the April 4, 2010 earthquake in Baja California. Black lines indicate interpreted faults, and red lines show where surface rupture was confirmed by geologists in the field. Image credit: NASA JPL/USGS/California Geological Survey/Google




Jerry Treiman Image 2

Jerry Treiman image presentation
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This close-up of the part of the UAVSAR interferogram above illustrates the level of detail available in the imagery. Black lines on the right-hand image indicate interpreted faults, and red lines show where surface rupture was confirmed in the field. Image credit: NASA JPL/USGS/California Geological Survey/Google




Jay Parker Power Point Presentation

› View Full presentation (ppt - 11Mb)

Jay Parker Movie

Jay Parker image presentation
› Play movie

This animation shows 100 years of virtual earthquakes clipped from a simulated 100,000 year history that relies on the behavior of real faults (John Rundle, UC Davis). It includes virtual earthquakes resembling the April 4, 2010 event in Baja California, as well as San Andreas-type events. NASA/JPL/UCDavis