The Great Valley fault system defines the tectonic boundary between the Coast Ranges and the Central Valley in California, is active throughout the Quaternary, and has been the source of several significant (M > 6) historic earthquakes, including the 1983 M 6.5 Coalinga earthquake and the 1892 Vacaville–Winters earthquake sequence. However, the locations and geometries of individual faults in the Great Valley fault system are poorly constrained, and fault slip rates and paleoearthquake chronology are largely unknown. Here, we report geomorphic and subsurface geophysical evidence of surface‐deforming displacement on a strand of the Great Valley fault system west of Winters, California. Detailed geomorphic mapping and a high‐resolution seismic reflection and tomography survey along an ∼800 m profile across the Bigelow Hills document a fault, which we call the West Winters strand of the Great Valley fault system, with apparent east side‐up displacement of surficial geologic units. These data together suggest that the West Winters strand is active in the latest Quaternary. Together with local reports from the time, this raises the possibility that the West Winters strand may have ruptured and deformed the surface during the 1892 M 6 Vacaville–Winters earthquake sequence. Future earthquakes with vertical displacement on this and Great Valley fault system structures could have significant hazard implications, given the region’s low relief and the presence of major water conveyance infrastructure.
|Title||Evidence of active Quaternary deformation on the Great Valley fault system near Winters, northern California|
|Authors||Charles Cashman Trexler, Alexander E. Morelan, Rufus D. Catchings, Mark Goldman, Jack Willard|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||The Seismic Record|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Earthquake Science Center|