Queen Charlotte Fault Mapping

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The Queen Charlotte Fault is an active strike-slip boundary, similar to California’s San Andreas fault.

USGS Research Geologist Maureen Walton and colleagues recently completed a research cruise studying the Queen Charlotte Fault off the coast of southeast Alaska and Haida Gwaii, British Columbia. The cruise, funded in part by the National Science Foundation, deployed ocean-bottom seismometers and used sonar and seismic energy to characterize the Earth’s crust at either side of the submarine fault.

The Queen Charlotte Fault is nearly 900 kilometers long and marks the tectonic boundary between the Pacific and North American plates. An active strike-slip boundary similar to California’s San Andreas fault, the Queen Charlotte Fault has produced five magnitude-7-and-higher earthquakes in the last 100 years and presents the greatest earthquake hazard to residents of southeast Alaska and western British Columbia.

Scenes show workers on a ship moving equipment from deck to the water, plus some still photos of the ship and the workers.

Scientists aboard Canadian Coast Guard Ship John P. Tully lower instruments to the seafloor off the coast of Alaska and British Columbia, to study submarine faults using sonar and seismic energy.

(Credit: Maureen Walton, USGS. Public domain.)

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