Kittitas Valley, a structurally determined wide segment of the Yakima River valley, is partly filled with the Pliocene Thorp Gravel and with Pleistocene till, outwash, and related sediment that accumulated during three glaciations. The Thorp Gravel, whose age according to fission-track dating is about 3.7 m.y., forms a conspicuous fill terrace locally as high as 130 m. Bodies of drift, all younger than the Thorp Gravel, form nested fill terraces along the Yakima River. The massive moraines, intermediate morphostratigraphic position, and well-developed soil of the Kittitas Drift suggest its correlation with the penultimate northern-hemisphere glaciation of about 0.13 m.y. ago. The Lakedale Drift, which composes a single outwash terrace in Kittitas Valley, evidently correlates with the classical late Wisconsin Glaciation. The newly named Lookout Mountain Ranch Drift, which forms moraines at higher altitudes than and is older than the Kittitas Drift, lacks an attendant valley train.
Three faults disrupt the Thorp Gravel but apparently not the Kittitas Drift, and therefore probably are between 0.13 and 3.7 m.y. old. The eastward trend and up-to-the-basin throw of the faults probably reflect reverse faulting due to a regional north-south compression that uparched several east-trending anticlines in central Washington. The southeast trend of the dextrally echelon arrangement of the faults apparently is due to a right-lateral couple across a zone parallel to the Olympic-Wallowa lineament.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Late Cenozoic deposits, landforms, stratigraphy, and tectonism in Kittitas Valley, Washington