Los Alamos Women in Science
Northern Chapter of the New Mexico Network for Women in Science and Engineering

co-sponsored by the Bradbury Science Museum
Talk at 6:30pm, Monday, November 27, 2006
Bradbury Science Museum Auditorium
15th and Central, Los Alamos

Investigating Past Earthquakes
on the La Laja Fault System, San Juan Province, Western Argentina
Emily Schultz, EES-9, LANL
Understanding the quantity and shallow-subsurface expression of individual earthquakes in regions of blind thrust faults (where the earthquake-generating fault is deep and does not rupture the Earth's surface) is critical for evaluating a region's seismic hazard. On a blind thrust fault near San Juan, Argentina, a magnitude 7.0 earthquake occurred in January 1944. The La Laja fault, a small displacement fault associated with the blind thrust and located 25 km northeast of the provincial capital, recorded minor surface deformation during the 1944 event. This earthquake was devastating, in that it destroyed 90% of the infrastructure of San Juan and claimed the lives of as many as 10,000 Argentineans. The 1944 San Juan seismic event had important cultural significance, as the post-earthquake recovery efforts brought Juan Peron and his legendary wife Evita together and also catalyzed Juan Peron's rise to political power in Argentina. Two studies along the La Laja Fault System near San Juan provide an intriguing look at past earthquake records in the area. Seventeen trenches were excavated in the La Laja Fault System during a field campaign in 2005, and show that separate portions of the fault system record differing numbers of paleoearthquakes. Also, the geometry of geologic units in the trenches unveils information about activity on the blind thrust fault, which is located more than 10 km below the Earth's surface. Through this study, obtaining the quantity of paleoearthquakes and the mechanism by which the fault deforms allows a clarified understanding of seismic hazard to regions of blind thrust faulting. (LA-UR-06-8120)

Biography - A proud, born-and-raised cheesehead, Emily Schultz received her undergraduate degree in geology from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin in 2002. After her undergraduate work, she spent nearly two years as a post-baccalaureate fellow on the Seismic Hazards Geology Team in EES Division at LANL. Emily left LANL and New Mexico in 2004 to pursue a master's degree from Oregon State University. She returned to LANL's EES Division in April 2006 to assist the Seismic Hazards Geology Team with a large-scale field project. Emily continued to work on her thesis, successfully defending it in October 2006. This talk is a portion of her master's thesis research.

Members and Nonmembers Welcome - Open to the Public

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