Faulted terrace risers are semi-planar features commonly used to constrain Quaternary slip rates along strike-slip faults. These landforms are difficult to date directly and therefore their ages are commonly bracketed by age estimates of the adjacent upper and lower terrace surfaces. However, substantial differences in the ages of the upper and lower terrace surfaces (a factor of 2.4 difference observed globally) produce large uncertainties in the slip-rate estimate. In this investigation, we explore how the full range of displacements and bounding ages from multiple faulted terrace risers can be combined to yield a more accurate fault slip rate. We use 0.25-m cell size digital terrain models derived from airborne lidar data to analyze three sites where terrace risers are offset right-laterally by the Honey Lake fault in NE California, USA. We use ages for locally extensive subhorizontal surfaces to bracket the time of riser formation: an upper surface is the bed of abandoned Lake Lahontan having an age of 15.8 ± 0.6 ka and a lower surface is a fluvial terrace abandoned at 4.7 ± 0.1 ka. We estimate lateral offsets of the risers ranging between 6.6 and 28.3 m (median values), a greater than fourfold difference in values. The amount of offset corresponds to the riser's position relative to modern stream meanders: the smallest offset is in a meander cutbank position, whereas the larger offsets are in straight channel or meander point-bar positions. Taken in isolation, the individual terrace-riser offsets yield slip rates ranging from 0.3 to 7.1 mm/a. However, when the offset values are collectively assessed in a probabilistic framework, we find that a uniform (linear) slip rate of 1.6 mm/a (1.4–1.9 mm/a at 95% confidence) can satisfy the data, within their respective uncertainties. This investigation demonstrates that integrating observations of multiple offset elements (crest, midpoint, and base) from numerous faulted and dated terrace risers at closely spaced sites can refine slip-rate estimates on strike-slip faults.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Refining fault slip rates using multiple displaced terrace risers—An example from the Honey Lake fault, NE California, USA|
|Series title||Earth and Planetary Science Letters|
|Contributing office(s)||Geologic Hazards Science Center|
|Other Geospatial||Honey Lake Fault|