Queen Charlotte Fault Mapping
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.