Index of faults of Cretaceous and Cenozoic age in the eastern United States

Miscellaneous Field Studies Map 1269




The information in this report was collected between 1974 and 1982 as part of the Reactor Hazards Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). This program was initiated to delineate and assess geologic hazards that could be particularly detrimental to major constructions, especially nuclear reactors. Faults are of principal interest to the program because earthquakes associated with them can cause major damage in short periods of time. 

Prior to 1970, very little was known about Cenozoic faulting in the eastern United States. the most abundant data were available in the western gulf Coastal Plain where oil exploration had generated a considerable amount of subsurface stratigraphic information. The Atlantic coastal Plain was considered to be generally devoid of faults, although scientists such as McGee (1888) and Darton (1891, 1951) had proposed major faulting or uplift along the Fall Line. The Piedmont and Blue Ridge Provinces of the eastern United States contained numerous mapped faults, abut the recency of fault movement was unknown because of the absence of Cenozoic strata.

One of the initial efforts of the Reactor Hazards Program was a compilation and evaluation of Cretaceous and younger faults in the East. Topical studies were initiated in areas of particular interest, and these studies in turn generated a broader scientific interest in the problem of Cenozoic deformation. A preliminary literature investigation of Cretaceous and younger faulting was published by York and Oliver (1976), and was followed by an interpretive map of young faults by Howard and others (1978).

The data in this report represent the presently available knowledge of fault characteristics and distribution. Clearly, as current investigations progress and as geologists become more aware of the evidence for Cenozoic faulting, the number of known Cenozoic faults will increase substantially. Until such time, the data that are shown here must be viewed conservatively because I believe they are not a totally representative collection of information at this scale. the data are useful in characterizing basic fault patterns in the region, but certain factors limit the usefulness of the map. Limitations of this information are discussed in the following text, and the reader should give them major consideration when using the map and fault table.

Study Area

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USGS Numbered Series
Index of faults of Cretaceous and Cenozoic age in the eastern United States
Series title:
Miscellaneous Field Studies Map
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U.S. Geological Survey
2 Plates: 33.97 x 47.57 inches and 46.18 x 37.79 inches
United States
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