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Neotectonics of the northern Mojave Desert

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The Mojave Desert's fault system: The map below shows the location of mapped faults and surficial geology of the central Mojave Desert region in southern California. The black lines on the map show the location of earthquake faults (faults identified as displaying evidence of earthquake activity in the geologic recent past. These faults show cross-cutting displacement of Quaternary and Holocene sediments that had been previously deposited on the surface before fault rupture occurred. Not all faults are alike, and it takes careful investigation to understand the character and history of individual faults, and how they interact with the regional fault system. Geologists are trying to answer questions such as... Which faults are most active? How is crustal strain associated with the fault system distributed across the region? Which faults have the potential for causing great earthquakes? And, which areas in the region are most at risk from damaging shaking cause by earthquakes?

Map showing young and active faults in the Mojave Desert region

graphic provided by Kevin Schmidt

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