Stress triggering of the 1994 m = 6.7 northridge, california, earthquake by its predecessors. Academic Article uri icon


  • A model of stress transfer implies that earthquakes in 1933 and 1952 increased the Coulomb stress toward failure at the site of the 1971 San Fernando earthquake. The 1971 earthquake in turn raised stress and produced aftershocks at the site of the 1987 Whittier Narrows and 1994 Northridge ruptures. The Northridge main shock raised stress in areas where its aftershocks and surface faulting occurred. Together, the earthquakes with moment magnitude M >/= 6 near Los Angeles since 1933 have stressed parts of the Oak Ridge, Sierra Madre, Santa Monica Mountains, Elysian Park, and Newport-lnglewood faults by more than 1 bar. Although too small to cause earthquakes, these stress changes can trigger events if the crust is already near failure or advance future earthquake occurrence if it is not.

publication date

  • September 2, 1994