A New Geological Slip Rate Estimate for the Calico Fault, Eastern California: Implications for Geodetic versus Geologic Rate Estimates in the Eastern California Shear Zone

Document Type


Publication Date



Calico Fault, geological slip rate, geodetic slip rate, Eastern California Shear Zone, displacement, surface exposure dating

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)



Accurate estimation of fault slip rate is fundamental to seismic hazard assessment. Previous work suggested a discrepancy between short-term geodetic and long-term geologic slip rates in the Mojave Desert section of the Eastern California Shear Zone (ECSZ). Understanding the origin of this discrepancy can improve understanding of earthquake hazard and fault evolution. We measured offsets in alluvial fans along the Calico Fault near Newberry Springs, California, and used several techniques to date the offset landforms and determine a slip rate. Our preferred slip rate estimate is 3.2 ± 0.4 mm/yr, representing an average over the last few hundred thousand years, faster than previous estimates. Seismic hazard associated with this fault may therefore be higher than previously assumed. We discuss possible biases in the various slip rate estimates and discuss possible reasons for the rate discrepancy. We suggest that the ECSZ discrepancy is an artefact of limited data, and represents a combination of faster slip on the Calico Fault, off-fault deformation, unmapped fault strands, and uncertainties in the geologic rates that have been underestimated. Assuming our new rate estimate is correct and a fair amount (40%) of off-fault deformation occurs on major ECSZ faults, the summed geologic rate estimate across the Mojave section of the ECSZ is 10.5 ± 3.1 mm/yr, which is equivalent within uncertainties to the geodetic rate estimate.

Was this content written or created while at USF?


Citation / Publisher Attribution

International Geology Review, v. 61, issue 13, p. 1613-1641