Has the San Gabriel Fault Been Offset?
Jack R. Sheehan
The San Gabriel fault (SGF) in southern California is a right-lateral, strike-slip fault extending for 85 mi in an arcuate, southwestward-bowing curve from near the San Andreas fault at Frazier Mountain to its intersection with the left-lateral San Antonio Canyon fault (SACF) in the eastern San Gabriel Mountains. Termination of the SGF at the presently active SACF is abrupt and prompts the question "Has the San Gabriel Fault been offset?" Tectonic and geometric relationships in the area suggest that the SGF has been offset approximately 6 mi in a left-lateral sense and that the offset continuation of the SGF, across the SACF, is the right-lateral, strike-slip San Jacinto fault (SJF), which also terminates at the SACF.
Reversing the left-lateral movement on the SACF to rejoin the offset ends of the SGF and SJF reveals a fault trace that is remarkably similar in geometry and movement (and perhaps in tectonic history), to the trace of the San Andreas fault through the southern part of the San Bernardino Mountains. The relationship of the Sierra Madre-Cucamonga fault system to the restored SGF-SJF fault is strikingly similar to the relationship of the Banning fault to the Mission Creek-Mill Creek portion of the San Andreas fault.
Structural relations suggest that the San Gabriel-San Jacinto system predates the San Andreas fault in the eastern San Gabriel Mountains and that continuing movement on the SACF is currently affecting the trace of the San Andreas fault in the Cajon Pass area.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91035©1988 AAPG-SEPM-SEG Pacific Sections and SPWLA Annual Convention, Santa Barbara, California, 17-19 April 1988.