San Jacinto Fault Zone

The San Jacinto Fault Zone (SJFZ) is a major strike-slip fault zone that runs through San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, and Imperial Counties in Southern California. The SJFZ is a component of the larger San Andreas transform system and is considered to be the most seismically active fault zone in the area. Together they relieve the majority of the stress between the Pacific and North American tectonic plates.

The SJFZ itself consists of many individual fault segments, some of which have only been individualized as recently as the 1980s, but activity along the line of faults has been documented since the 1890s. One segment of the SJFZ, the Anza seismic gap, has not experienced any major activity since instrumental records have been kept. Each segment was evaluated for its seismic risk and was assigned a probability for the occurrence of a large rupture for the thirty year period starting in 1995.

While several of the large earthquakes along the SJFZ have not resulted in significant property damage or loss of life (due to their remote location) the cities of Hemet and San Jacinto were both heavily damaged in two significant events in 1899 and 1918. The recurrence interval for a series of large earthquakes starting in 1899 (including the 5.9 1937 Terwilliger Valley earthquake) was 18, 5, 14, 5, 12, 14, and 19 years, yet there has not been a strong earthquake for 25 years (since the 1987 Superstition Hills and Elmore Ranch sequence).

Read more about San Jacinto Fault ZoneCharacteristics, Earthquakes

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