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Field and Laboratory Data From an Earthquake History Study of Scarps in the Hanging Wall of the Tacoma Fault, Mason and Pierce Counties, Washington

Scientific Investigations Map 3060

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Abstract

As part of the effort to assess seismic hazard in the Puget Sound region, we map fault scarps on Airborne Laser Swath Mapping (ALSM, an application of LiDAR) imagery (with 2.5-m elevation contours on 1:4,000-scale maps) and show field and laboratory data from backhoe trenches across the scarps that are being used to develop a latest Pleistocene and Holocene history of large earthquakes on the Tacoma fault. We supplement previous Tacoma fault paleoseismic studies with data from five trenches on the hanging wall of the fault. In a new trench across the Catfish Lake scarp, broad folding of more tightly folded glacial sediment does not predate 4.3 ka because detrital charcoal of this age was found in stream-channel sand in the trench beneath the crest of the scarp. A post-4.3-ka age for scarp folding is consistent with previously identified uplift across the fault during AD 770-1160. In the trench across the younger of the two Stansberry Lake scarps, six maximum 14C ages on detrital charcoal in pre-faulting B and C soil horizons and three minimum ages on a tree root in post-faulting colluvium, limit a single oblique-slip (right-lateral) surface faulting event to AD 410-990. Stratigraphy and sedimentary structures in the trench across the older scarp at the same site show eroded glacial sediments, probably cut by a meltwater channel, with no evidence of post-glacial deformation. At the northeast end of the Sunset Beach scarps, charcoal ages in two trenches across graben-forming scarps give a close maximum age of 1.3 ka for graben formation. The ages that best limit the time of faulting and folding in each of the trenches are consistent with the time of the large regional earthquake in southern Puget Sound about AD 900-930.

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Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Field and Laboratory Data From an Earthquake History Study of Scarps in the Hanging Wall of the Tacoma Fault, Mason and Pierce Counties, Washington
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Map
Series number:
3060
Edition:
-
Year Published:
2008
Language:
ENGLISH
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Contributing office(s):
U.S. Geological Survey
Description:
3 Sheets - Sheet 1: 38 x 36 inches; Sheet 2: 66.64 x 36 inches; Sheet 3: 45.9 x 35.76 inches; This publication is available at Maps-on-Demand
Scale:
4000