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The fine-scale structure of Long Beach, California, and its impact on ground motion acceleration
  • Jorge Castellanos,
  • Robert W. Clayton
Jorge Castellanos
California Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Robert W. Clayton
California Institute of Technology
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The metropolitan Los Angeles region represents a zone of high-seismic risk due to its proximity to several fault systems, including the San Andreas fault. Adding to this problem is the fact that Los Angeles and its surrounding cities are built on top of soft sediments that tend to trap and amplify seismic waves generated by earthquakes. In this study, we use three dense petroleum industry surveys deployed in a 16x16-km area at Long Beach, California, to produce a high-resolution model of the top kilometer of the crust and investigate the influence of its structural variations on the amplification of seismic waves. Our velocity estimates reveal substantial lateral contrasts and correlate remarkably well with the geological background of the area, illuminating features such as the Newport-Inglewood fault, the Silverado aquifer, and the San Gabriel river. We then use computational modeling to show that the presence of these small-scale structures have a clear impact on the intensity of the expected shaking, and can cause ground-motion motion acceleration to change by several factors over a sub-kilometer horizontal scale. These results shed light onto the scale of variations that can be expected in this type of tectonic settings and highlight the importance of resolution in modern-day seismic hazard estimates.
Dec 2021Published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth volume 126 issue 12. 10.1029/2021JB022462