Neotectonic and paleoseismic analysis of the northwest extent of Holocene surface deformation along the Meers Fault, Oklahoma

Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
By: , and 

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Abstract

TheMeers fault (Oklahoma) is one of fewseismogenic structures with evidence for Holocene surface rupture in the stable continental region of North America. The 37-kilometer-long southeast section of the full 54-kilometer-long Meers fault is interpreted to be Holocene active. The 17-kilometer-long northwest section is considered Quaternary active, but not Holocene active.We reevaluate surface expression and earthquake timing of the northwest Meers fault to improve seismic source characterization.We use airborne light detection and ranging and historical stereopaired aerial photos to evaluate the fault scarp and local faultzone geomorphology. In the northwest, complex surface deformation includes fault splays, subtle monoclinal warping, and a minor change in fault strike. We interpret that the alongstrike transition from surface faulting on the southeastMeers fault to surface folding on the northwest Meers fault occurs at the lithologic contact between Permian Post Oak conglomerate and Hennessey shale. We excavated a paleoseismic trench to evaluate the timing of surface-deforming earthquakes on the northwest section of the fault. The excavation revealed weathered Permian Hennessey shale and an ∼1–2-meter-thick veneer of Holocene alluvial deposits that were progressively deformed during two surface-folding earthquakes likely related to blind fault rupture beneath the site. Repeated onlapping to overlapping stratigraphic sequences and associated unconformities are intimately related to folding events along the monocline. OxCal paleoearthquake age modeling indicates that earthquakes occurred 4704–3109 yr B.P. and 5955–4744 yr B.P., and that part of the northwest section of the Meers fault is Holocene active. We find the Holocene-active section of the Meers fault should be lengthened 6.1 km to the northwest, to a total Holocene-active fault length of 43 km. Empirical scaling relationships between surface rupture length and magnitude reveal that the fault could generate an Mw 7.0 earthquake.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Neotectonic and paleoseismic analysis of the northwest extent of Holocene surface deformation along the Meers Fault, Oklahoma
Series title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
DOI 10.1785/0120180148
Volume 110
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Seismological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
Description 18 p.
First page 49
Last page 66
Country United States
State Oklahoma
County Kiowa County, Comanche County
Other Geospatial Meers Fault
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