Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Long-term creep rates on the Hayward Fault: Evidence for controls on the size and frequency of large earthquakes

February 1, 2012

The Hayward fault (HF) in California exhibits large (Mw 6.5–7.1) earthquakes with short recurrence times (161±65 yr), probably kept short by a 26%–78% aseismic release rate (including postseismic). Its interseismic release rate varies locally over time, as we infer from many decades of surface creep data. Earliest estimates of creep rate, primarily from infrequent surveys of offset cultural features, revealed distinct spatial variation in rates along the fault, but no detectable temporal variation. Since the 1989 Mw 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake (LPE), monitoring on 32 alinement arrays and 5 creepmeters has greatly improved the spatial and temporal resolution of creep rate. We now identify significant temporal variations, mostly associated with local and regional earthquakes. The largest rate change was a 6‐yr cessation of creep along a 5‐km length near the south end of the HF, attributed to a regional stress drop from the LPE, ending in 1996 with a 2‐cm creep event. North of there near Union City starting in 1991, rates apparently increased by 25% above pre‐LPE levels on a 16‐km‐long reach of the fault. Near Oakland in 2007 an Mw 4.2 earthquake initiated a 1–2 cm creep event extending 10–15 km along the fault. Using new better‐constrained long‐term creep rates, we updated earlier estimates of depth to locking along the HF. The locking depths outline a single, ∼50‐km‐long locked or retarded patch with the potential for an Mw∼6.8 event equaling the 1868 HF earthquake. We propose that this inferred patch regulates the size and frequency of large earthquakes on HF.

Publication Year 2012
Title Long-term creep rates on the Hayward Fault: Evidence for controls on the size and frequency of large earthquakes
DOI 10.1785/0120110033
Authors James J. Lienkaemper, Forrest S. McFarland, Robert W. Simpson, Roger G. Bilham, David A. Ponce, John Boatwright, S. John Caskey
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Index ID 70156894
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earthquake Science Center