Seismic-reflection profiles of the New Madrid seismic zone-data along the Mississippi River near Caruthersville, Missouri

Miscellaneous Field Studies Map 1863
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The tectonic setting and the earthquake hazards of the New Madrid seismic zone in the northern Mississippi embayment have been the subject of intensive study the past several years as part of the Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program of the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey). These efforts have improved our knowledge of the geologic history, general tectonic setting, and patterns of modern seismicity (see McKeown and Pakiser, 1982) in the New Madrid seismic zone. Identifying and characterizing the specific structures that may be responsible for the seismicity is the focus of continuing research. Unfortunately, these structures are buried by the veneer of poorly consolidated Upper Cretaceous and Tertiary sediments that overlie competent rocks in the embayment. In such a geologic setting, seismic-reflection profiling is one of the most valuable techniques available to obtain useful information on the distribution of faults, and on the local and regional structure.

Three major seismic-reflection programs have been conducted by the USGS in the New Madrid seismic zone. The first program consisted of 32 km of conventional Vibroseis profiling designed to investigate the subsurface structure associated with scarps and lineaments in northwestern Tennessee (Zoback, 1979). A second, more extensive Vibroseis program collected about 250 km of data from all parts of the New Madrid seismic zone in Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee (Hamilton and Zoback, 1979, 1982; Zoback and others, 1980). The profiles presented here are part of the third program that collected about 240 km of high-resolution seismic-reflection data from a boat along the Mississippi River between Osceola, Ark., and Wickliffe, Ky. (fig. 1). The data for profiles A, B, C, and D were collected between river miles 839-1/2 and 850-1/2 from near the Interstate-155 bridge to upstream of Caruthersville, Mo. (fig. 2). Profiles on this part of the river are important for three reasons: (1) they connect many of the land-based profiles on either side of the river, (2) they are near the northeast termination of a linear, 120km-long, northeast-southwest zone of seismicity that extends from northeast Arkansas to Caruthersville, Mo. (Stauder, 1982; fig. 1), and (3) they cross the southwesterly projection of the Cottonwood Grove fault (fig. 1), a fault having a substantial amount of vertical Cenozoic offset (Zoback and others, 1980).

Study Area

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Seismic-reflection profiles of the New Madrid seismic zone-data along the Mississippi River near Caruthersville, Missouri
Series title Miscellaneous Field Studies Map
Series number 1863
ISBN 0607817208
DOI 10.3133/mf1863
Year Published 1986
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Description 4 Plates: 40.82 x 57.37 inches or smaller
Country United States
State Missouri
Scale 90000
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N