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Authors: Griffith, A. W.* 
Di Toro, G.* 
Pennacchioni, G.* 
Pollard, D. D.* 
Nielsen, S.* 
Title: Static stress drop associated with brittle slip events on exhumed faults.
Issue Date: 2009
Series/Report no.: /114 (2009)
DOI: 10.1029/2008JB005879
Keywords: earthquakes
stress drops
Subject Classification04. Solid Earth::04.04. Geology::04.04.99. General or miscellaneous 
Abstract: We estimate the static stress drop on small exhumed strike-slip faults in the Lake Edison granodiorite of the central Sierra Nevada (California). The subvertical strike-slip faults were exhumed from 4 to 15 km depth and were chosen because they are exposed in outcrop along their entire tip-to-tip lengths of 8–12 m. Slip nucleated on joints and accumulated by crystal-plastic shearing (forming quartz mylonites from early quartz vein filling in joints) and successive brittle faulting (forming epidote-bearing cataclasites). The occurrence of thin, 300 mm wide, pseudotachylytes along some small faults throughout the study area suggests that some, if not all, of the brittle slip on the study area faults may have been seismic. We suggest that the contribution of brittle, cataclastic slip to the total slip along the studied cataclasite-bearing small faults may be estimated by the length of epidote-filled, rhombohedral dilatational jogs (rhombochasms) distributed quasi-periodically along the length of the faults. The interpretation that slip recorded by rhombochasms occurred in single events is based on evidence that (1) epidote crystals are randomly oriented and undeformed within the rhombochasm; (2) cataclasite in principal slip zones does not include clasts of previous cataclasite, and (3) rhombochasm lengths vary systematically along the length of the faults with slip maximum occurring near the fault center, tapering to the fault tips. We thereby constrain both the rupture length and slip. On the basis of these measurements, we calculate stress drops ranging over 90–250 MPa, i.e., one to two orders of magnitude larger than typical seismological estimates for earthquakes, but similar in magnitude to seismological estimates of small (<M2) earthquakes from the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth (SAFOD). The slip events described in the present study occurred along small, deep-seated faults, and, given the calculated stress drops and observations that brittle faults exploited joints sealed by quartz-bearing mylonite, we conclude that these were ‘‘strong’’ faults.
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