Data for Quaternary faults, liquefaction features, and possible tectonic features in the Central and Eastern United States, east of the Rocky Mountain Front

Open-File Report 2000-260
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The USGS is currently leading an effort to compile published geological information on Quaternary faults, folds, and earthquake-induced liquefaction in order to develop an internally consistent database on the locations, ages, and activity rates of major earthquake-related features throughout the United States. This report is the compilation for such features in the Central and Eastern United States (CEUS), which for the purposes of the compilation, is defined as the region extending from the Rocky Mountain Front eastward to the Atlantic seaboard. A key objective of this national compilation is to provide a comprehensive database of Quaternary features that might generate strong ground motion and therefore, should be considered in assessing the seismic hazard throughout the country. In addition to printed versions of regional and individual state compilations, the database will be available on the World-Wide Web, where it will be readily available to everyone. The primary purpose of these compilations and the derivative database is to provide a comprehensive, uniform source of geological information that can by used to complement the other types of data that are used in seismic-hazard assessments. Within our CEUS study area, which encompasses more than 60 percent of the continuous U.S., we summarize the geological information on 69 features that are categorized into four classes (Class A, B, C, and D) based on what is known about the feature's Quaternary activity. The CEUS contains only 13 features of tectonic origin for which there is convincing evidence of Quaternary activity (Class A features). Of the remaining 56 features, 11 require further study in order to confidently define their potential as possible sources of earthquake-induced ground motion (Class B), whereas the remaining features either lack convincing geologic evidence of Quaternary tectonic faulting or have been studied carefully enough to determine that they do not pose a significant seismic hazard (Classes C and D). The correlation between historical seismicity and Quaternary faults and liquefaction features in the CEUS is generally poor, which probably reflects the long return times between successive movements on individual structures. Some Quaternary faults and liquefaction features are located in aseismic areas or where historical seismicity is sparse. These relations indicate that the record of historical seismicity does not identify all potential seismic sources in the CEUS. Furthermore, geological studies of some currently aseismic faults have shown that the faults have generated strong earthquakes in the geologically recent past. Thus, the combination of geological information and seismological data can provide better insight into potential earthquake sources and thereby, contribute to better, more comprehensive seismic-hazard assessments.

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Data for Quaternary faults, liquefaction features, and possible tectonic features in the Central and Eastern United States, east of the Rocky Mountain Front
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2000-260
DOI 10.3133/ofr00260
Edition -
Year Published 2000
Language ENGLISH
Publisher U.S. Dept. of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey,
Description 342 p.
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