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Numerous faults observed at the surface and (or) determined by geometric and geophysical methods to be present as much as several hundred meters below the surface (near-surface faults) have been mapped in a 2,000-km2 area west of Pierre, S. Dakota. Many of these faults surround an east-west-trending structural high that has been mapped on the lower part of the Virgin Creek Member of the Pierre Shale. Generally, the geometry and displacement of many of the faults precludes slumping from surficial erosion as a mechanism to explain the faults. Seismic-reflection data indicate that several of the faults directly overlie faults in Precambrian basement that have cumulative vertical displacements of as much as 340 m. The structural high is interpreted to have been uplifted by displacements along faults that cut Upper Cretaceous sedimentary rocks. Recent low-level seismicity and fluvial-geomorphic studies of stream patterns, gradients, and orders suggest that rejuvenation of drainages may be taking place as a result of rebound or other tectonic activity. The studies indicate that repeated uplift and subsidence may have been the cause of extensive faulting mapped in the Pierre Shale since its deposition in Cretaceous time. Surficial fault displacements that cause damage to engineered structures are thought to be the result of construction-induced rebound in the Pierre Shale, although tectonic uplift cannot be ruled out as a cause.

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