George Davis | An Eclectic Active Tectonics Field Trip to Southern California

Interested in seeing firsthand the interrelationships of earthquakes, faulting, landslides, and society, our Active Tectonics class of 17 students and 4 faculty explored the Los Angeles region.   Colleagues from academia and industry were our guides.  On the morning of Day 1, we visited the Southern California Earthquake Center (located at USC), where Tom Henyey explained the SCEC Master Model, Jill Andrews described technology transfer, and Kurt Abdouch discussed educational outreach to schools.  On the afternoon of Day 1, Bruce Clark, President, Leighton & Associates, introduced us to the science, engineering, and business of geohazards consulting, and then led us on-site to see landslide hazards mitigation in action.  On Day 2, Jim Dolan (USC) gave us a neotectonic tour of the northern L.A. Basin, including Sunset Strip and the Hollywood fault at Hollywood and Vine.  On Day 3, Art Sylvester (UCSB) led us into the Eastern Ventura Basin, where folds are growing, terraces are uplifting, and oil is spilling out of the earth.  On Day 4, Ed Keller and Larry Gurrola (UCSB) walked us along folded, faulted, uplifted marine terraces, and Tanya Atwater (UCSB) showed us her computer animations of the evolution of the San Andreas fault.  On Day 5, Tom Fumal (USGS, Menlo) took us to the classic paleoseismic sites at Pallett Creek and Wrightwood, whre we saw the fine stratigraphic details on which estimates of earthquake recurrence intervals are based.  On Day 6, we visited the San Bernardino County Office of Emergency Services, where Denise Benson described how this office, which resides in one of the most tectonically active counties in the nation, prepares its citizens, its businesses, and its government offices for THE BIG ONE.  For most of us, this was the first field trip expressly connected with geohazards and the welfare of society.  It made real the intellectual challenges and opportunities that await those who direct their professional careers to mitigation of loss of property and loss of life related to tectonic hazards.

[Davis, G.H., and Beck, S.L., 1997, An eclectic active tectonics field trip to southern California: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 29, no. 6, p. 28.]