Chemical and Physical Characteristics of Pulverized Tejon Lookout Granite Adjacent to the San Andreas and Garlock Faults: Implications for Earthquake Physics

  • Thomas Rockwell
  • Matthew Sisk
  • Gary Girty
  • Ory Dor
  • Neta Wechsler
  • Yehuda Ben-Zion
Part of the Pageoph Topical Volumes book series (PTV)


We present new detailed analyses of samples of pulverized Tejon Lookout granite collected from sections adjacent to the San Andreas and Garlock faults in southern California. The Tejon Lookout granite is pulverized in all exposures within about 100 m from both faults. Chemical analyses indicate no or little weathering in the collected samples, although XRD analysis shows the presence of smectite, illite, and minor kaolinite in the clay-size fraction. Weathering products may dominate in the less than 1 micron fraction. The average grain size in all samples of pulverized Tejon Lookout granite ranges between 26 and 208 microns (silt to fine sand), with the particle size distribution in part a function of proximity to the primary slip zone. The San Andreas fault samples that we studied are generally finer grained than those collected from adjacent to the Garlock fault. The particle size distribution for each studied sample from both faults follows a pseudo-power law with a continuously changing exponent, which suggests that pulverization is not simply a consequence of direct shear. The average particle size that we determined for our samples is considerably coarser than reported in previous investigations, which we attribute to possible measurement errors in the prior work. Our data and observations suggest that dynamic fracturing in the wall rock of the San Andreas and Garlock faults only accounts for about 1% or less of the earthquake energy budget.

Key words

Pulverized rocks particle size distribution rock weathering fault-zone structure earthquake physics 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Rockwell
    • 1
  • Matthew Sisk
    • 1
  • Gary Girty
    • 1
  • Ory Dor
    • 2
    • 3
  • Neta Wechsler
    • 2
  • Yehuda Ben-Zion
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesSan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of Geological SciencesBrown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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