The Susquehanna lateral ramp crosses the entire length of Pennsylvania in a NNE direction and extends into southern New York State. Its presence was first suspected because of a dramatic change in fold wavelength across the Susquehanna River, seen on both side-looking airborne radar (SLAR *) data and the geologic map of Pennsylvania. Seismic reflection profiles confirm the presence of a ramp and show the detailed nature of structures associated with it. These structures include antiformal stacks, juxtaposed anticlines and synclines, and folds beheaded by thrust faults. The change in the fold pattern, which led to recognizing the lateral ramp, occurs above a rapid dropoff in depth to the basement suggesting that the ramp and the basement configuration may somehow be related. In plan view, eleven earthquakes are spatially related to the Susquehanna lateral ramp, although they are in the basement rocks rather than in the cover rocks which contain the lateral ramp itself. The earthquakes are, therefore, not likely directly associated with the ramp, though they may be affiliated with strike-slip faulting in the basement which, itself, appears to be partly responsible for the formation of the ramp. The initial age of the faulting along, and in the vicinity of, the Susquehanna lateral ramp is presumably Early to Middle Paleozoic. However, the presence of a surficially-exposed Mesozoic dike along the ramp and modern seismicity suggest that the Susquehanna lateral ramp may be a zone of protracted, and perhaps repeated, tectonism which is currently being reactivated. A preliminary evaluation of the distribution of modern earthquakes in the Valley and Ridge, Blue Ridge and Appalachian Plateau shows that nearly half of the earthquakes are located under lateral ramps. If this observation is true, the presence of ramps may be a useful geological indicator of areas susceptible to seismicity. ?? 1991.
Additional Publication Details
Fold patterns, lateral ramps and seismicity in central Pennsylvania