Earthquake Triggering: A Review of Evidence from the 1992 Landers, California, Sequence

  • Susan E. Hough
Conference paper
Part of the NATO ASI Series book series (ASEN, volume 4)


Earthquakes perturb the regional static stress field in ways that can be modeled using elastic halfspace theory. The 1992 Landers, California earthquake sequence provides an opportunity to investigate various aspects of this phenomenon. The Landers event itself occurred in a region in which the Coulomb stress was increased by previous moderate-sized regional events. Two of the largest aftershocks to the Landers event, the Mw6.5 Big Bear event (3 hrs later) and a Mw5.7 event just south of the epicenter (3 min. later) occurred in regions where the Landers rupture caused the highest Coulomb stress increases. In general, aftershock activity for Landers and other recent large earthquakes in Southern California has been concentrated in regions of increased static stress. These aftershocks can be important events in their own right. I present detailed analysis of dense array recordings of the Landers mainshock and early M5.7 aftershock, which provides evidence that significant surface rupture to the south of the Landers epicenter was associated with early aftershocks. The Mw6.5 Big Bear aftershock, which caused more property damage that the Landers mainshock, illustrates another important facet of earthquake triggering: detailed source investigations suggest that the event was comprised of distinct sub-events, ~4 sec apart, on both conjugate planes. This represents a ‘cross-fault triggering’ scenario, which has been observed fairly commonly in earthquakes for which detailed rupture histories are available. The triggering gives rise to either distinct mainshock sub-events, as in the case of Big Bear, or distinct earthquakes separated by a few hours or days (as in the case of the 1987 Superstition Hills, California sequence). These results suggest a continuum of triggered effects can be expected following a large event, and that rupture complexity can be very difficult to resolve from typically-available seismic data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-VerlagBerlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan E. Hough
    • 1
  1. 1.United States Geological SurveyPasadenaUSA

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