Paleomagnetic results from Pleistocene sedimentary deposits in the central Puget Lowland indicate that the region has experienced widespread deformation within the last 780 kyr. Three oriented samples were collected from unaltered fine-grained sediments mostly at sea level to determine the magnetostratigraphy at 83 sites. Of these, 47 have normal, 18 have reversed, and 18 have transitional (8 localities) polarities. Records of reversed- to normal-polarity transitions of the geomagnetic field were found in thick sections of silt near the eastern end of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and again at Wingehaven Park near the northern tip of Vashon Island. The transitional horizons, probably related to the Bruhnes-Matuyama reversal, apparently fall between previously dated Pleistocene sediments at the Puyallup Valley type section (all reversed-polarity) to the south and the Whidbey Island type section (all normal-polarity) to the north. The samples, in general, are of sufficient quality to record paleosecular variation (PSV) of the geomagnetic field, and a statistical technique is used to correlate horizons with significant agreement in their paleomagnetic directions. Our data are consistent with the broad structures of the Seattle uplift inferred at depth from seismic reflection, gravity, and aeromagnetic profiles, but the magnitude of vertical adjustments is greatly subdued in the Pleistocene deposits.
Additional publication details
Magnetostratigraphy, paleomagnetic correlation, and deformation of pleistocene deposits in the south central Puget Lowland, Washington