Recent studies have demonstrated a plausible link between surface and near-surface tectonic features and the vertical projection of the Commerce geophysical lineament (CGL). The CGL is a 5- to 10-km-wide zone of basement magnetic and gravity anomalies traceable for more than 600 km, extending from Arkansas through southeast Missouri and southern Illinois and into Indiana. Twelve kilometers of high-resolution seismic reflection data, collected at four sites along a 175-km segment of the CGL projection, are interpreted to show varying amounts of deformation involving Tertiary and some Quaternary sediments. Some of the locally anomalous geomorphic features in the northern Mississippi embayment region (i.e., paleoliquefaction features, anomalous directional changes in stream channels, and areas of linear bluff escarpments) overlying the CGL can be correlated with specific faults and/or narrow zones of deformed (faulted and folded) strata that are imaged on high-resolution seismic reflection data. There is an observable change in near-surface deformation style and complexity progressing from the southwest to the northeast along the trace of the CGL. The seismic reflection data collaborate mapping evidence which suggests that this region has undergone a complex history of deformation, some of which is documented to be as young as Quaternary, during multiple episodes of reactivation under varying stress fields. This work, along with that of other studies presented in this volume, points to the existence of at least one major crustal feature outside the currently defined zone of seismic activity (New Madrid Seismic Zone) that should be considered as a significant potential source zone for seismogenic activity within the midcontinent region of the United States. ?? 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.