Magnetic anomalies provide insights into the tectonic implications of a swarm of ~1500 shallow (~1 km deep) earthquakes that occurred in 2009 on the Hanford site,Washington. Epicenters were concentrated in a 2 km2 area nearWooded Island in the Columbia River. The largest earthquake (M 3.0) had first motions consistent with slip on a northwest-striking reverse fault. The swarm was accompanied by 35 mm of vertical surface deformation, seen in satellite interferometry (InSAR), interpreted to be caused by ~50 mm of slip on a northwest-striking reverse fault and associated bedding-plane fault in the underlying Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG). A magnetic anomaly over exposed CRBG at Yakima Ridge 40 km northwest of Wooded Island extends southeastward beyond the ridge to the Columbia River, suggesting that the Yakima Ridge anticline and its associated thrust fault extend southeastward in the subsurface. In map view, the concealed anticline passes through the earthquake swarm and lies parallel to reverse faults determined from first motions and InSAR data. A forward model of the magnetic anomaly near Wooded Island is consistent with uplift of concealed CRBG, with the top surface <200 m below the surface. The earthquake swarm and the thrust and bedding-plane faults modeled from interferometry all fall within the northeastern limb of the faulted anticline. Although fluids may be responsible for triggering the Wooded Island earthquake swarm, the seismic and aseismic deformation are consistent with regional-scale tectonic compression across the concealed Yakima Ridge anticline.
Additional publication details
Tectonic setting of the Wooded Island earthquake swarm, eastern Washington