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Gravity study through the Tualatin Mountains, Oregon: Understanding crustal structure and earthquake hazards in the Portland urban area

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America

By:
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DOI: 10.1785/012003045

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Abstract

A high-resolution gravity survey through the Tualatin Mountains (Portland Nills) west of downtown Portland exhibits evidence of faults previously identified from surface geologic and aeromagnetic mapping. The gravity survey was conducted in 1996 along the 4.5-km length of a twin-bore tunnel, then under construction and now providing light-rail service between downtown Portland and communities west of the Portland Hills. Gravitational attraction gradually increases from west to east inside the tunnel, which reflects the tunnel's location between low-density sedimentary deposits of the Tualatin basin to the west and high-density, mostly concealed Eocene basalt to the east. Superimposed on this gradient are several steplike anomalies that we interpret as evidence for faulted contacts between rocks of contrasting density. The largest of these anomalies occurs beneath Sylvan Creek, where a fault had previously been mapped inside the tunnel. Another occurs 1200 m from the west portal, at the approximate intersection of the tunnel with an aeromagnetic anomaly associated with the Sylvan fault (formerly called the Oatfield fault). Lithologic cross sections based on these gravity data show that the steplike anomalies are consistent with steeply dipping reverse faults, although strike-slip displacements also may be important. Three gravity lows correspond with topographic lows directly overhead and may reflect zones of shearing. Several moderate earthquakes (M ??? 3.5) occurred near the present-day location of the tunnel in 1991, suggesting that some of these faults or other faults in the Portland Hills fault zone are seismically active.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Gravity study through the Tualatin Mountains, Oregon: Understanding crustal structure and earthquake hazards in the Portland urban area
Series title:
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
DOI:
10.1785/012003045
Volume
94
Issue:
4
Year Published:
2004
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
First page:
1402
Last page:
1409