February media highlights - GSA Bulletin

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Location, structure, and seismicity of the Seattle fault zone, Washington: Evidence from aeromagnetic anomalies, geologic mapping, and seismic-reflection data.
Richard J. Blakely, et al., U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, California 94025, USA. Pages 169-177.
Crustal faults are among the many earth hazards that confront the Puget Lowland of Washington. Some of these faults are believed to be capable of producing magnitude 7 earthquakes at shallow depth (<25 km), and knowing their location, length, and three-dimensional geometry is an important step in understanding their threat and mitigating their damage. This understanding is difficult to come by in the Puget Lowland because of concealing glacial deposits, vegetation, water, and urban development. The USGS in 1997 conducted an airborne magnetic survey of the entire Puget Lowland in order to learn more about crustal faults and the geologic underpinnings of the region.

The pattern of magnetic anomalies over Seattle reflects the complex geology of the Seattle fault zone, which extends east-west along the southern margin of the Seattle basin beneath Puget Sound and Seattle. Geologic arguments, seismic-reflection data, and geophysical models indicate that the Seattle fault zone consist of several thrust faults, where crust to the south has moved up relative to crust northward. The Seattle fault zone was responsible for a magnitude 7 earthquake 1100 years ago, and a magnitude 4.9 earthquake in June 1997 near Bremerton suggests that part of it is active today. We have mapped various strands of the Seattle fault zone and its spatial relation to the Seattle basin, using the aeromagnetic data to interpolate fault locations between widely spaced seismic-reflection profiles and sparse bedrock exposures indicated by geologic mapping. Thus mapped, we relate the active strand of the Seattle fault zone to the 1997 eart

Contact: Ann Cairns
Geological Society of America

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