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Structure of the eastern Seattle fault zone, Washington state: New insights from seismic reflection data

September 28, 2010

We identify and characterize the active Seattle fault zone (SFZ) east of Lake Washington with newly acquired seismic reflection data. Our results focus on structures observed in the upper 1 km below the cities of Bellevue, Sammamish, Newcastle, and Fall City, Washington. The SFZ appears as a broad zone of faulting and folding at the southern boundary of the Seattle basin and north edge of the Seattle uplift. We interpret the Seattle fault as a thrust fault that accommodates north-south shortening by forming a fault-propagation fold with a forelimb breakthrough. The blind tip of the main fault forms a synclinal growth fold (deformation front) that extends at least 8 km east of Vasa Park (west side of Lake Sammamish) and defines the south edge of the Seattle basin. South of the deformation front is the forelimb break-through fault, which was exposed in a trench at Vasa Park. The Newcastle Hills anticline, a broad anticline forming the north part of the Seattle uplift east of Lake Washington, is interpreted to lie between the main blind strand of the Seattle fault and a backthrust. Our profiles, on the northern limb of this anticline, consistently image north-dipping strata. A structural model for the SFZ east of Lake Washington is consistent with about 8 km of slip on the upper part of the Seattle fault, but the amount of motion is only loosely constrained.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2008
Title Structure of the eastern Seattle fault zone, Washington state: New insights from seismic reflection data
DOI 10.1785/0120070145
Authors L.M. Liberty, T. L. Pratt
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Series Number
Index ID 70000290
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization