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Seismic ground-failure features in the vicinity of the Lower Wabash and Ohio River valleys

By
Ronald C. Counts
Ronald C. Counts
Kentucky Geological Survey, Western Kentucky Office, 1401 Corporate Court, Henderson, Kentucky 42420, USA, and University of Cincinnati Department of Geology, 500 Geology Physics Building, Cincinnati, Ohio 45221, USA rcounts@uky.edu
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;
James M. Durbin
James M. Durbin
University of Southern Indiana Department of Geology and Physics, 8600 University Boulevard, Evansville, Indiana 47712 jdurbin@usi.edu
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;
Stephen F. Obermeier
Stephen F. Obermeier
EqLiq Consulting, 3415 W CR 50 N, Rockport, Indiana 47635, USA sobermei@yahoo.com
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Published:
January 01, 2008

Abstract

The lower Wabash and Ohio River valleys have experienced seismicity throughout geologic time. The rocks and sediments in southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and western Kentucky provide records of these past seismic events in the form of various types of filled fractures. In the field these features occur either as downward penetrating, surface-filled fractures created by tectonic deformation or seismicity, or as upward penetrating liquefaction features such as clastic dikes and sills created by strong earthquakes.

The fractures are widespread and abundant in many places, and are usually seen in natural exposures such as stream banks and less commonly in man-made excavations. In contrast, their causative faults are rarely observed. Thus, compared to searching for faults, the study of filled fractures is a useful and relatively inexpensive technique for assessing the seismic history of a region.

The fractures discussed are clearly of seismic origin on the basis of morphology, sediment characteristics, regional patterns, and proximity to known faults. Further research is needed to determine whether additional types of features, which we discuss and examine in the field, can also serve as paleoseismic indicators.

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Contents

GSA Field Guide

From the Cincinnati Arch to the Illinois Basin: Geological Field Excursions along the Ohio River Valley

Anton H. Maria
Anton H. Maria
Geology and Physics Department University of Southern Indiana 8600 University Boulevard Evansville, Indiana 47712 USA
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;
Ronald C. Counts
Ronald C. Counts
Kentucky Geological Survey Western Kentucky Office 1401 Corporate Court Henderson, Kentucky 42420 USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
12
ISBN electronic:
9780813756127
Publication date:
January 01, 2008

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