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Contemporary deformation in the Yakima fold and thrust belt estimated with GPS

July 1, 2016

Geodetic, geologic and palaeomagnetic data reveal that Oregon (western USA) rotates clockwise at 0.3 to 1.0° Ma−1 (relative to North America) about an axis near the Idaho–Oregon–Washington border, while northeast Washington is relatively fixed. This rotation has been going on for at least 15 Ma. The Yakima fold and thrust belt (YFTB) forms the boundary between northern Oregon and central Washington where convergence of the clockwise-rotating Oregon block is apparently accommodated. North–south shortening across the YFTB has been thought to occur in a fan-like manner, increasing in rate to the west. We obtained high-accuracy, high-density geodetic GPS measurements in 2012–2014 that are used with earlier GPS measurements from the 1990s to characterize YFTB kinematics. The new results show that the deformation associated with the YFTB starts at the Blue Mountains Anticline in northern Oregon and extends north beyond the Frenchman Hills in Washington, past the epicentre of the 1872 Mw 7.0 Entiat earthquake to 49°N. The north–south strain rate across the region is 2 to 3 × 10−9 yr−1 between the volcanic arc and the eastern edge of the YFTB (241.0°E); east of there it drops to about 10−9 yr−1. At the eastern boundary of the YFTB, faults and earthquake activity are truncated by a north-trending, narrow zone of deformation that runs along the Pasco Basin and Moses Lake regions near 240.9°E. This zone, abutting the Department of Energy Hanford Nuclear Reservation, accommodates about 0.5 mm yr−1 of east to northeast shortening. A similar zone of N-trending transpression is seen along 239.9°E where there is a change in the strike of the Yakima folds. The modern deformation of the YFTB is about 600 km wide from south to north and internally may be controlled by pre-existing crustal structure.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2016
Title Contemporary deformation in the Yakima fold and thrust belt estimated with GPS
DOI 10.1093/gji/ggw252
Authors Robert McCaffrey, Robert W. King, Ray Wells, Matthew Lancaster, M. Meghan Miller
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geophysical Journal International
Series Number
Index ID 70184978
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center