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Neogene deformation, paleomagnetic rotations, and sparse geodetic data suggest the Cascadia fore arc is migrating northward along the coast and breaking up into large rotating blocks. Deformation occurs mostly around the margins of a large, relatively aseismic Oregon coastal block composed of thick, accreted seamount crust. This 400 km long block is moving slowly clockwise with respect to North America about a Euler pole in eastern Washington, thus increasing convergence rates along its leading edge near Cape Blanco, and creating an extensional volcanic arc on its trailing edge. Northward movement of the block breaks western Washington into smaller, seismically active blocks and compresses them against the Canadian Coast Mountains restraining bend. Arc-parallel transport of fore-arc blocks is calculated to be up to 9 mm/yr, sufficient to produce damaging earthquakes in a broad deformation zone along block margins.
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Fore-arc migration in Cascadia and its neotectonic significance