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Upper-plate structure and tsunamigenic faults near the Kodiak Islands, Alaska, USA

July 12, 2022

The Kodiak Islands lie near the southern terminus of the 1964 Great Alaska earthquake rupture area and within the Kodiak subduction zone segment. Both local and trans-Pacific tsunamis were generated during this devastating megathrust event, but the local tsunami source region and the causative faults are poorly understood. We provide an updated view of the tsunami and earthquake hazard for the Kodiak Islands region through tsunami modeling and geophysical data analysis. Using seismic and bathymetric data, we characterize a regionally extensive seafloor lineament related to the Kodiak shelf fault zone, with focused uplift along a 50-km-long portion of the newly named Ugak fault as the most likely source of the local Kodiak Islands tsunami in 1964. We present evidence of Holocene motion along the Albatross Banks fault zone, but we suggest that this fault did not produce a tsunami in 1964. We relate major structural boundaries to active forearc splay faults, where tectonic uplift is collocated with gravity lineations. Differences in interseismic locking, seismicity rates, and potential field signatures argue for different stress conditions at depth near presumed segment boundaries. We find that the Kodiak segment boundaries have a clear geophysical expression and are linked to upper-plate structure and splay faulting. The tsunamigenic fault hazard is higher for the Kodiak shelf fault zone when compared to the nearby Albatross Banks fault zone, suggesting short wave travel paths and little tsunami warning time for nearby communities.

Publication Year 2022
Title Upper-plate structure and tsunamigenic faults near the Kodiak Islands, Alaska, USA
DOI 10.1130/GES02486.1
Authors Marlon D. Ramos, Lee M Liberty, Peter J. Haeussler, Robert John Humphreys
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Geosphere
Index ID 70237720
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Alaska Science Center Geology Minerals