Dog Valley Fault as a Potential Threat to Stampede, Prosser Creek, and Boca Dams

Hobart, Catherine, Baylor University, Kate_hobart1@baylor.edu; Vince Cronin, Vince_cronin@baylor.edu; Joseph White, Joseph_white@baylor.edu; John Dunbar, John_dunbar@baylor.edu (Poster)

This is a progress report on efforts to locate the ground-surface trace of the Dog Valley Fault (DVF) near Truckee, California. The DVF generated a M6.0 earthquake in 1966, prior to completion of Stampede Dam by the US Bureau of Reclamation in 1970. USBR geologists found a 3-9 m thick clay-gouge zone in the left dam abutment during pre-construction exploration (Hawkins et al., 1986), which seems likely to be along the DFV. The DVF trace probably also crosses Prosser Creek Reservoir. Today, a M6+ earthquake that causes surface rupture along the DVF might induce failure of Stampede Dam, compromising Boca Dam downstream. The resulting flow of water and debris would endanger people and infrastructure along the Truckee River to Reno, Nevada. A USBR report in 2012 stated that "approximately 148,400 people living downstream from [Stampede] dam would be impacted in the event of dam failure [including] a large portion of the city of Reno" (USBR, 2012, p. B14-B15). To date, we have focused on [1] seismo-lineament analysis and statistical best-fit-plane evaluation of relocated earthquakes and [2] structural-geomorphic analysis of hillshade maps based on 1-m DEMs created from lidar data. This analysis includes lineament mapping with GIS-based techniques such as convolution filtering, drainage network analysis, and stream deflection mapping, augmented by additional soil survey and near infra-red vegetation data to identify possible faults. We will also use GPS-site velocity data to measure present-day crustal strain in the area of the DVF. When it is safe to resume field studies after the COVID health crisis, we will conduct electromagnetic induction (EM) and DC-resistivity surveys across suspected DVF traces, which should improve prospects for successful paleoseismic trench studies in the future.


I am a second-year graduate student at Baylor University, working under Dr. Vince Cronin. Before starting at Baylor, I graduated from Texas A&M University in 2018 and spent the following year interning at NASA Johnson Space Center and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. I worked on controls and software engineering projects which helped me to discern my future career path. My current project and course work at Baylor are aimed at preparing me for a career in engineering geology. I plan to obtain my Geologist-In-Training certificate and graduate with my M.S. in Geology in the coming year.

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