Jahns/ FindingActiveFaults/

Two portraits of Dick Jahns and information about the Jahns Lecture Series for 2022-2023

How can an engineering geologist find an active fault?


This talk will summarize techniques my students and I use to find the ground-surface trace of seismogenic/active faults. It will emphasize the ideas of geoscience to benefit society, the primacy principle of protecting human life/safety, the comingling of basic fieldwork with analysis of geophysical data (relocated earthquake hypocenter data, earthquake focal mechanisms, GPS geodesy, LiDAR-based geomorphic analysis), and the virtue of continuing education throughout a geoscientist's career.

Some Resources


Ashburn, J.A., 2015, Investigation of a lineament that might mark the ground-surface trace of the Dog Valley fault, Truckee area, northern California: Baylor University Geology Department, defended 13 July 2015, accessible via

Cronin, V.S., 2004, A draft primer on focal mechanism solutions for geologists: Teaching Quantitative Skills in the Geosciences,

Cronin, V.S., 2008, Finding the mean and 95 percent confidence interval of a set of strike-and-dip or lineation data: Environmental and Engineering Geoscience, v. XIV, no. 2, p. 113-119.

Cronin, V.S., 2014, Seismo-Lineament Analysis Method (SLAM), using earthquake focal mechanisms to help recognize seismogenic faults: Proceedings of the 5th International INQUA meeting on Paleoseismology, Active Tectonics and Archeoseismology (PATA Days), 21-27 September, Busan, South Korea, p. 21-27 September 2014, p. 28-31, ISBN 9791195344109 93450; available via

Cronin, V.S., Millard, M.A., Seidman, L.E., and Bayliss, B.G., 2008, The Seismo-Lineament Analysis Method [SLAM] for finding seismogenic faults: Environmental and Engineering Geoscience, v. 14, no. 3, p. 199-219.

Fisher, R.A., 1953, Dispersion on a sphere: Proceedings Royal Society, London, v. A217, no. 1130. p. 295-305.

Hobart, C., 2021, Selecting locations for future geophysical surveys in search of the Dog Valley fault using earthquake, LiDAR, and GPS data: MS research, Baylor University, accessible via

Johnson, A.M., Burnham, C.W., Allen, C.R., and Muehlberger, W. [editors], 1990, Richard H. Jahns Memorial Volume -- A selection of papers presented in honor of his memory by his students: Elsevier, 594 p. and 5 plates.

Lindsay, R., 2011, Applying SLAM to recognize seismogenic faults in the Tahoe Basin area of California and Nevada: MS research, Baylor University, accessible via

Logan, J.M., Friedman, M., Higgs, N., Dengo, C., and Shimamoto, T., 1979, Experimental studies of simulated gouge and their application to studies of natural fault zones, in Analysis of actual fault zones in bedrock: U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 79-1239, p. 305-343, accessible via

McCalpin, J.P., [editor], 2009, Paleooseismology [2nd edition]: Academic Press, Elsevier Science, 629 p., ISBN-13 9780080919980

NCEDC, 2023, Northern California earthquake data center: available via -- 2014 USFS Tahoe National Forest Lidar CA1-Guo

Reasenberg, P.A., and Oppenheimer, D., 1985, FPFIT, FPPLOT, and FPPAGE: Fortran computer programs for calculating and displaying earthquake fault-plane solutions: U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report, no. 85-739.

Reed, T., 2014, Spatial correlation of earthquakes with two known and two suspected seismogenic faults, north Tahoe-Truckee area, California: MS research, Baylor University, accessible via

Scholz, C.H., 2018, The mechanics of earthquakes and faulting [3rd edition]: Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 512 p., doi:10.1017/9781316681473, ISBN-13 978-1316615232

Strasser, M., 2017, Spatial correlation of selected earthquakes with the Dog Valley fault in northern California using LiDAR and GPS data: MS research, Baylor University, accessible via

USGS, 2023, Quaternary fault and fold database of the United States: available via and

Waldhauser, F. and Schaff, D.P., 2008, Large-scale relocation of two decades of northern California seismicity using cross-correlation and double-difference methods: Journal of Geophysical Research, v. 113, B08311, doi: 10.1029/2007JB005479.

Waldhauser, F., 2001, hypoDD -- A program to compute double-difference hypocenter locations: U.S. Geological Survey, Open-File Report 01-113, 25 p. , accessible via

Waldhauser, F., 2009, Near-real-time double-difference event location using long-term seismic archives, with application to northern California: Bulletin of the Seismic Society of America, v. 99, no. 5, pp. 2736-2748, doi: 10.1785/0120080294.

Waldhauser, F., 2017, Real-time double-difference earthquake locations for northern California, available via

Return to the homepage for the Jahns Lecture Series, 2022-23

If you have any questions or comments about this site or its contents, drop an email to Vince Cronin.