Abstract

On the basis of faulting mapped on seismic reflection and bathymetric data, seismicity, current plate motions, and evidence that the Yakutat block may be anomalously thick, we propose a tectonic model for Yakutat-Pacific interactions, including the often-debated Transition fault. To the east, deformation associated with the Queen Charlotte–Fairweather fault system is extending offshore, facilitating westward propagation of strike-slip motion along the eastern segment of the Transition fault. To the west, the oblique-slip Pamplona zone and Transition faults merge at an embayment in the continental margin, where a north-south dextral strike-slip fault within the Pacific plate, illuminated by the 1987–1992 earthquake swarm, intersects the Pacific-Yakutat tectonic boundary. These fault patterns are consistent with modern plate motions and reflect a plate boundary reorganization that may be caused by resistance to subduction by the Yakutat block, a possible moderate-sized oceanic plateau.

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