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Sculpted by water, elevated by earthquakes—The coastal landscape of Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska

General Information Product 177

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory and the National Center for Airborne Laser Mapping
By:
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https://doi.org/10.3133/gip177

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Abstract

Within Glacier Bay National Park in southeastern Alaska, the Fairweather Fault represents the onshore boundary between two of Earth’s constantly moving tectonic plates: the North American Plate and the Yakutat microplate. Satellite measurements indicate that during the past few decades the Yakutat microplate has moved northwest at a rate of nearly 5 centimeters per year relative to the North American Plate. Motion between the tectonic plates results in earthquakes on the Fairweather Fault during time intervals spanning one or more centuries. For example, in 1958, a 260-kilometer section of the Fairweather Fault ruptured during a magnitude 7.8 earthquake, causing permanent horizontal (as much as 6.5 meters) and vertical (as much as 1 meter) displacement of the ground surface across the fault. Thousands to millions of years of tectonic plate motion, including earthquakes like the one in 1958, raised and shifted the ground surface across the Fairweather Fault, while rivers, glaciers, and ocean waves eroded and sculpted the surrounding landscape along the Gulf of Alaska coast in Glacier Bay National Park.

Suggested Citation

Witter, R.C., LeWinter, A., Bender, A., Glennie, C., and Finnegan, D., 2017, Sculpted by water, elevated by earthquakes—The coastal landscape of Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 177, https://doi.org/10.3133/gip177.

ISSN: 2332-354X (online)

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Sculpted by water, elevated by earthquakes—The coastal landscape of Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
Series title:
General Information Product
Series number:
177
DOI:
10.3133/gip177
Year Published:
2017
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Alaska Science Center Geology Minerals
Description:
Poster: 50.04 x 40.68 inches
Country:
United States
State:
Alaska
Other Geospatial:
Glacial Bay National Park
Online Only (Y/N):
Y