Surface traces of the Quaternary active Kern Canyon and Breckenridge faults were mapped via aerial reconnaissance, analysis of light detection and ranging (LiDAR) elevation data, review and interpretation of aerial photography, field reconnaissance, and detailed field mapping. This effort specifically targeted evidence of late Quaternary surface deformation and, combined with separate paleoseismic investigations, identified and characterized the North Kern Canyon, South Kern Canyon, and Lake Isabella sections of the Kern Canyon fault and the Breckenridge fault. The mapping presented here provides definitive evidence for previously unrecognized Holocene and late Pleistocene east-down displacement along the Kern Canyon and Breckenridge faults. Our results indicate that much of the Kern Canyon fault has undergone Quaternary reactivation to accommodate internal deformation of the otherwise rigid Sierra Nevada block. This deformation reflects ongoing, seismogenic crustal thinning in the southern Sierra Nevada, and highlights the effects of localized tectonic forces operating in this part of the Sierra Nevada.
- Received 21 January 2011.
- Revision received 8 December 2011.
- Accepted 12 December 2011.
- © 2012 Geological Society of America