Connecting the Yakima fold and thrust belt to active faults in the Puget Lowland, Washington

Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
By: , and 

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Abstract

High-resolution aeromagnetic surveys of the Cascade Range and Yakima fold and thrust belt (YFTB), Washington, provide insights on tectonic connections between forearc and back-arc regions of the Cascadia convergent margin. Magnetic surveys were measured at a nominal altitude of 250 m above terrain and along flight lines spaced 400 m apart. Upper crustal rocks in this region have diverse magnetic properties, ranging from highly magnetic rocks of the Miocene Columbia River Basalt Group to weakly magnetic sedimentary rocks of various ages. These distinctive magnetic properties permit mapping of important faults and folds from exposures to covered areas. Magnetic lineaments correspond with mapped Quaternary faults and with scarps identified in lidar (light detection and ranging) topographic data and aerial photography. A two-dimensional model of the northwest striking Umtanum Ridge fault zone, based on magnetic and gravity data and constrained by geologic mapping and three deep wells, suggests that thrust faults extend through the Tertiary section and into underlying pre-Tertiary basement. Excavation of two trenches across a prominent scarp at the base of Umtanum Ridge uncovered evidence for bending moment faulting possibly caused by a blind thrust. Using aeromagnetic, gravity, and paleoseismic evidence, we postulate possible tectonic connections between the YFTB in eastern Washington and active faults of the Puget Lowland. We suggest that faults and folds of Umtanum Ridge extend northwestward through the Cascade Range and merge with the Southern Whidbey Island and Seattle faults near Snoqualmie Pass 35 km east of Seattle. Recent earthquakes (MW ≤ 5.3) suggest that this confluence of faults may be seismically active today.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Connecting the Yakima fold and thrust belt to active faults in the Puget Lowland, Washington
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
DOI 10.1029/2010JB008091
Volume 116
Issue B7
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher AGU
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Science Center
Description B07105
Country United States
State Washington
Datum United States