Other than the Crittenden County fault zone (CCFZ), little is known about the seismic hazard from earthquake faults within 50 km of Memphis, Tennessee, a city that contains a large inventory of older buildings that are vulnerable to moderate and strong earthquake ground shaking. To address this lack of knowledge about faulting near Memphis, we acquired a 4.5 km long Mini-Sosie seismic-reflection profile across the boundary between the loess-covered bluffs and modern Mississippi River flood plain in Meeman-Shelby Forest State Park north of Memphis. We imaged a previously unknown reverse/thrust fault that displaces Paleozoic and Cretaceous rocks and upwarps Tertiary deposits on the floodplain portion of the profile about 25 km north of downtown Memphis. The Paleozoic and Cretaceous rocks are vertically faulted about 70 and 40 m, respectively, in an up-to-the-west sense of displacement. The fault displacement apparently terminates in the basal portion of the Paleocene section and causes only an upwarping of the overlying deposits. The overlying Paleocene and Eocene deposits, which are probably the youngest deposits imaged, are upwarped about 50-60 m with the same sense of displacement as the underlying older units. The sense of displacement, amplitude, and appearance of the fault in the seismic data are very similar to that observed in the seismic reflection images of the CCFZ 15 km west of this profile. Although we have imaged this new fault in only one location, its proximity to Memphis and similarities to the CCFZ, leads us to speculate that it may be a parallel structure to the CCFZ and thus warrants further study. ?? 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Additional publication details
Seismic-reflection imaging of Tertiary faulting and related post-Eocene deformation 20 km North of Memphis, Tennessee