Preliminary interpretation of industry two-dimensional seismic data from Susitna Basin, south-central Alaska

Open-File Report 2015-1138
By: , and 



Located approximately 80 kilometers northwest of Anchorage, Alaska, the Susitna Basin is a complex sedimentary basin whose tectonic history has been poorly understood. Recent interpretation of two-dimensional seismic reflection data integrated with well, aeromagnetic, and gravity data provides new insights into the structural and stratigraphic nature of the basin.

This report presents an interpretation of 41 two-dimensional seismic reflection lines, acquired by industry from the 1960s to the 1980s. Our interpretation of the seismic data focused mainly on picking two Eocene stratigraphic units and a presumed base of Tertiary horizon. Based on our interpretation of the seismic data, the structural features in the basin appear to be generally contractional, as evidenced by the presence of many reverse faults, thrust faults, and folds, with the contraction mainly oriented east-west. This result is contrary to prior inferences of most previous geologic studies that showed normal faults. Several regional reverse faults have been identified in the seismic data and appear to divide the basin into three regions or “sides”: east, west, and south.

The eastern seismic lines show evidence of numerous short-wavelength antiforms that appear to correspond to a series of northeast-trending lineations observed in aeromagnetic data, which have been interpreted as being due to folding of Paleogene volcanic strata. The eastern side of the basin is also cut by a number of reverse faults and thrust faults, the majority of which strike north-south. The western side of the Susitna Basin is cut by a series of regional reverse faults and is characterized by synformal structures in two fault blocks between the Kahiltna River and Skwentna faults. These synforms are progressively deeper to the west in the footwalls of the east-vergent Skwentna and northeast-vergent Beluga Mountain reverse faults. Although the seismic data are limited to the south, we interpret a potential regional south-southeast-directed reverse fault striking east-northeast on the east side of the basin that may cross the entire southern portion of the basin.

Suggested Citation

Lewis, K.A., Potter, C.J., Shah, A.K., Stanley, R.G., Haeussler, P.J., and Saltus, R.W., 2015, Preliminary interpretation of industry two-dimensional seismic data from Susitna Basin, south-central Alaska: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1138, 51 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Discussion
  • Summary
  • Acknowledgment
  • References Cited
  • Figures
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Preliminary interpretation of industry two-dimensional seismic data from Susitna Basin, south-central Alaska
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2015-1138
DOI 10.3133/ofr20151138
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Central Energy Resources Science Center
Description Report: iv, 51 p.; Figures
Country United States
State Alaska
Other Geospatial Susitna Basin
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details