Depth to the Juan de Fuca slab beneath the Cascadia subduction margin– A 3-D model for sorting earthquakes

Data Series 91
By: , and 



We present an updated model of the Juan de Fuca slab beneath southern British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, and northern California, and use this model to separate earthquakes occurring above and below the slab surface. The model is based on depth contours previously published by Fluck and others (1997). Our model attempts to rectify a number of shortcomings in the original model and update it with new work. The most significant improvements include (1) a gridded slab surface in geo-referenced (ArcGIS) format, (2) continuation of the slab surface to its full northern and southern edges, (3) extension of the slab surface from 50-km depth down to 110-km beneath the Cascade arc volcanoes, and (4) revision of the slab shape based on new seismic-reflection and seismic-refraction studies. We have used this surface to sort earthquakes and present some general observations and interpretations of seismicity patterns revealed by our analysis. For example, deep earthquakes within the Juan de Fuca Plate beneath western Washington define a linear trend that may mark a tear within the subducting plate Also earthquakes associated with the northern stands of the San Andreas Fault abruptly terminate at the inferred southern boundary of the Juan de Fuca slab. In addition, we provide files of earthquakes above and below the slab surface and a 3-D animation or fly-through showing a shaded-relief map with plate boundaries, the slab surface, and hypocenters for use as a visualization tool.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Depth to the Juan de Fuca slab beneath the Cascadia subduction margin– A 3-D model for sorting earthquakes
Series title Data Series
Series number 91
DOI 10.3133/ds91
Edition Version 1.2
Year Published 2004
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Earthquake Hazards Program, Earthquake Science Center
Description Report: 13 p.; Spatial Data
Country Canada, United States
State British Columbia, Washington
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details