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Crustal structure and quaternary acceleration of deformation rates in central Washington revealed by stream profile inversion, potential field geophysics, and structural geology of the Yakima folds

May 7, 2018

Post‐Miocene tectonic uplift along fault‐cored anticlines within central Washington produced the Yakima Fold Province, a region of active NNE‐SSW shortening in the Cascadian backarc. The relative timing and rate of deformation along individual structures is coarsely defined yet imperative for seismic hazard assessment. In this work, we use geomorphic and geophysical mapping, stream profile inversion, and balanced cross‐section methods to constrain fault geometries and slip rates in the Yakima Canyon region. We extract stream profiles from LiDAR data and analytically solve for the rate of relative rock uplift along several active fault‐cored anticlines. To constrain the fault geometries at depth and the long‐term magnitude of deformation, we constructed two line‐balanced cross sections across the folds with forward‐modeled magnetic and gravity anomaly data. Our stream profile results indicate an increase of incision rates in the Pleistocene, and we infer the increase is tectonically controlled. We estimate modern slip rates between 0.4 and 0.6 mm/year accommodated on reverse faults that core the Manastash Ridge, Umtanum Ridge, and Selah Butte anticlines and establish that these faults reactivate and invert older normal faults in basement rocks. Finally, we calculate the time required to accumulate sufficient strain energy for a large magnitude earthquake (M ≥ 7) along individual structures in the Yakima Fold Province. Results show that the Yakima folds likely accommodate large magnitude earthquakes and that it takes several hundred to several thousand years to accumulate sufficient strain energy for an M ≥ 7 earthquake.