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Neotectonic and paleoseismic analysis of the northwest extent of Holocene surface deformation along the Meers Fault, Oklahoma

Kristofer T. Hornsby, Ashley R. Streig, Scott E. K. Bennett, Jefferson C. Chang and Shannon Mahan
Neotectonic and paleoseismic analysis of the northwest extent of Holocene surface deformation along the Meers Fault, Oklahoma
Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America (December 2019) 110 (1): 49-66

Abstract

The Meers fault (Oklahoma) is one of few seismogenic structures with evidence for Holocene surface rupture in the stable continental region of North America. The 37-kilometer-long southeast section of the full 54-kilometer-long Meers fault is interpreted to be Holocene active. The 17-kilometer-long northwest section is considered Quaternary active, but not Holocene active. We reevaluate surface expression and earthquake timing of the northwest Meers fault to improve seismic source characterization. We use airborne light detection and ranging and historical stereopaired aerial photos to evaluate the fault scarp and local fault-zone geomorphology. In the northwest, complex surface deformation includes fault splays, subtle monoclinal warping, and a minor change in fault strike. We interpret that the along-strike transition from surface faulting on the southeast Meers fault to surface folding on the northwest Meers fault occurs at the lithologic contact between Permian Post Oak conglomerate and Hennessey shale. We excavated a paleoseismic trench to evaluate the timing of surface-deforming earthquakes on the northwest section of the fault. The excavation revealed weathered Permian Hennessey shale and an approximately 1-2-meter-thick veneer of Holocene alluvial deposits that were progressively deformed during two surface-folding earthquakes likely related to blind fault rupture beneath the site. Repeated onlapping to overlapping stratigraphic sequences and associated unconformities are intimately related to folding events along the monocline. OxCal paleoearthquake age modeling indicates that earthquakes occurred 4704-3109 yr B.P. and 5955-4744 yr B.P., and that part of the northwest section of the Meers fault is Holocene active. We find the Holocene-active section of the Meers fault should be lengthened 6.1 km to the northwest, to a total Holocene-active fault length of 43 km. Empirical scaling relationships between surface rupture length and magnitude reveal that the fault could generate an Mw 7.0 earthquake.


ISSN: 0037-1106
EISSN: 1943-3573
Serial Title: Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America
Serial Volume: 110
Serial Issue: 1
Title: Neotectonic and paleoseismic analysis of the northwest extent of Holocene surface deformation along the Meers Fault, Oklahoma
Affiliation: Portland State University, Portland, OR, United States
Pages: 49-66
Published: 20191210
Text Language: English
Publisher: Seismological Society of America, Berkeley, CA, United States
References: 33
Accession Number: 2020-002493
Categories: SeismologyStructural geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 3 tables, sketch maps
N34°45'00" - N34°55'00", W98°45'00" - W98°15'00"
Secondary Affiliation: U. S. Geological Survey, USA, United StatesOklahoma Geological Survey, USA, United StatesHawaii National Park, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2022, American Geosciences Institute. Abstract, Copyright, Seismological Society of America. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States
Update Code: 202003
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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