US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 24, NO.13, PAGES 1591-1594, JULY 1, 1997


A joint inversion for two-dimensional P-wave velocity (Vp), P-to-S velocity ratio (Vp/Vs), and earthquake locations along the San Andreas fault (SAF) in central California reveals a complex relationship among seismicity, fault zone structure, and the surface fault trace. A zone of low Vp andh ighV p/Vs lies beneatht he SAF surfacetr ace( SAFST), extending to a depth of about 6 km. Most of the seismic
activity along the SAF occurs at depths of 3 to 7 km in a southwest-dippingz one that roughly intersectst he SAFST, and lies near the southweset dgeo f the low Vp and high Vp/Vs zones. Tests indicate that models in which this seismic zone is significantly closer to vertical can be confidently rejected. A second high Vp/Vs zone extends to the northeast, apparently dipping beneath the Diablo Range. Another zone of seismicity underlies the northeast portion of this Vp/Vs high. The high Vp/Vs zones cut across areas of very different Vp values, indicating that the high Vp/Vs values are due to the presence of fluids, not just lithology. The close association between the zones of high Vp/Vs and seismicity suggests a direct involvement of fluids in the faulting process.