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Refining the Scenario for the East Franklin Mountain Fault (EFMF) Hazard in El Paso, TX

Leads: Dr. Aaron Velasco, Dr. Jeffrey Weidner, Dr. Jose Hurtado, Dr. Marianne Karplus, and Dr. Eric Jones

Goal: We seek to refine estimates of the seismic hazard imposed by the East Franklin Mountains Fault (EFMF), which transects the cities of El Paso, TX and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, MX, and to communicate our results for earthquake planning with the local office of emergency management. The EFMF has been identified as having a low probability of earthquake occurrence, yet an earthquake on that fault could have a high impact on the local, bi-national population. Recent earthquakes in west Texas have been felt in El Paso, TX, and generated new interest in earthquakes, their origins, and their hazards in the community.


Personnel:  Alejandro Dominguez, who is finalizing his Masters research plan, which will focus on mapping shallow structure using seismic methods. Specifically, he will analyze previously collected data and collect new data in specific regions of El Paso, TX. Dr. Solymar Ayala Cortez, will assist with the field deployment and analysis of the data.


Partners and Community Events: We have enlisted community partners that have direct input into the scope of the research and also interest in the community events.  The University Medical Center (UMC) is the only Trauma 1 center in this region and felt one of their building on the campus shake following a M5.4 earthquake in west Texas, over 200 miles away.  We wish to understand the shallow to deeper basin structure in this area to understand why the M5.4 earthquake was felt on the UMC campus.  We are planning meetings, and expect to run a scenario driven exercise. Finally, we expect to engage local schools to attempt our first ShakeOut drill in October. 

Research Plan: We will analyze previously collected data from a 50-station nodal and 6 station broadband deployment that was conducted in 2021. The data collected was over a two-week period, while the broadband data was recording for 6 months.  Tromino© surveys were also conducted to obtain noise measurements at over 200 sites throughout the city.

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