- © 2015 by the Seismological Society of America
The Mw 6.0 South Napa earthquake, which occurred at 10:20 UTC 24 August 2014 was the largest earthquake to strike the greater San Francisco Bay area since the Mw 6.9 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The rupture from this right‐lateral earthquake propagated mostly unilaterally to the north and up‐dip, directing the strongest shaking toward the city of Napa, where peak ground accelerations (PGAs) between 45%g and 61%g were recorded and modified Mercalli intensities (MMIs) of VII–VIII were reported. Tectonic surface rupture with dextral slip of up to 46 cm was observed on a 12.5 km long segment, some of which was along a previously mapped strand of the West Napa fault system, although the rupture extended to the north of the mapped Quaternary strand. Modeling of seismic and geodetic data suggests an average coseismic slip of 50 cm, with a maximum slip of about 1 m at depths of 10–11 km. We observed up to 35 cm of afterslip along the surface trace in the week following the mainshock, primarily along the southern half of the surface rupture that experienced relatively little coseismic offset. Relocation of the sparse aftershock sequence suggests en echelon southwest‐ and northeast‐dipping fault planes, reflective of the complex fault geometry in this region. The Napa basin and historic and late Holocene alluvial flood deposits in downtown Napa amplified the ground motions there. Few ground failures were mapped, reflecting the dry season (as well as a persistent drought that had lowered the groundwater table) and the short duration of strong shaking in the epicentral area.
TECTONIC SETTING OF THE SOUTH NAPA EARTHQUAKE
The South Napa fault rupture lies within an 80 km wide set of major north‐northwest‐trending faults of the San Andreas fault system, forming the boundary between the Pacific and North American tectonic …