High-Detail Fault Segmentation: Deep Insight into the Anatomy of the 1983 Borah Peak Earthquake Rupture Zone (Mw 6.9, Idaho, USA)

Simone Bello, Carlo Andrenacci, Daniele Cirillo, Chelsea P. Scott, Francesco Brozzetti, J. Ramon Arrowsmith, Giusy Lavecchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Following observations made in a survey campaign along the Lost River Fault (Idaho, USA) in 2019, we integrate both original and previously published data to obtain a detailed segmentation of the fault sections that failed in the 1983 Borah Peak earthquake (Mw 6.9). The earthquake ruptured the topographic surface with an oblique-normal faulting mechanism, activating two SW-dipping fault segments (Thousand Springs and Warm Springs) and a branching SSW-dipping fault (Arentson Gulch Fault) and producing coseismic surface ruptures with up to 3m of vertical separation. We augment the 1983 earthquake description by interpreting high-resolution topography and fault mapping. We use quality vertical separation data, rupture zone width measurements, and fault slip data to analyze major and minor structural-geometric complexities, highlighting a partition of the deformation and a fault segmentation into four detail levels (i.e., segments, sections, subsections, and sectors). Our work provides new details of the 1983 Borah Peak earthquake, constraints for paleoseismic and seismotectonic studies, and a methodological approach applicable in other areas of the world. Our fault-slip data show variations along faultstrike that we interpret as kinematic partitioning. In 1983, the main southern segment had a large rupture zone width, while the northern segment localized the deformation. The distributed ruptures accommodate a large portion of the rupture length (~19.5 km versus 31 km for the main rupture) and displacement (~66%). 83% of the surface faulting and 80% of the displacement are located at the hanging wall of the main rupture. There is a strong correlation between vertical separation, rupture zone width, rupture position (footwall or hanging wall), and fault geometry. We highlight the control of the obliquity and kinematic partitioning in the surface expression of the earthquake propagation. We interpret the coseismic (i.e., 1983) and long-term (i.e., Quaternary) behavior, showing that the two activated segments had similar cumulated behaviors in distributing the deformation between synthetic and antithetic ruptures, despite the different geometries. Our results have implications for fault rupture behavior with application to rupture hazard.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8100224
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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