Paleoearthquake studies that inform seismic hazard rely on assumptions of sediment transport that remain largely untested. Here, we test a widespread conceptual model and a new numerical model on the formation of colluvial wedges, a key deposit used to constrain the timing of paleoearthquakes. We perform this test by applying luminescence, a sunlight-sensitive sediment tracer, at a field site displaying classic colluvial wedge morphostratigraphy. The model and data comparison reveals complex sediment transport processes beyond the predictions of either conceptual or numerical models, including periods of simultaneous debris and wash facies forming processes, erosion, and reworking. These processes could lead to preservation bias, such as incomplete or overinterpretable paleoearthquake records, given the right environmental conditions. Attention to the site-specific mechanics of fault zone depositional systems, such as via sediment tracing, may buffer against the possible effects of preservation bias on paleoseismic study.
|Title||Luminescence sediment tracing reveals the complex dynamics of colluvial wedge formation|
|Authors||Harrison J. Gray, Christopher DuRoss, Sylvia Nicovich, Ryan D. Gold|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Geologic Hazards Science Center; Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center|