Sculpted by water, elevated by earthquakes—The coastal landscape of Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska
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.
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)
Additional publication details
|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|
|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|
|Other Geospatial||Glacial Bay National Park|
|Online Only (Y/N)||Y|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|