The lower continental slope west of southern Vancouver Island consists of a series of ridges formed by folding, faulting, and uplift of Cascadia Basin deposits; underlying oceanic basement, at least initially, is not involved in this deformation. The middle and upper continental slope has probably formed by the same process, combined with deposition of overlying material coming directly from the continent. This compressive deformation is postulated to be a result of underthrusting of the America Plate by the Juan de Fuca Plate. Linear magnetic anomalies produced at the Juan de Fuca spreading center can be traced under the slope for at least 40 km, further evidence for underthrusting. Anomaly source depth calculations indicate that oceanic basement dips beneath the continental slope at an angle of more than 10°. A diffuse zone of earthquake epicenters extending northeast from the northern tip of Juan de Fuca Ridge may mark the present northern margin of the Juan de Fuca Plate.

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