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The 180-km-long Meers-Willow fault system in the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen; a potential U.S. Mid-Continent seismic hazard

Brandon F. Chase, Folarin Kolawole, Estella A. Atekwana, Brett M. Carpenter, Molly Turko, Mohamed Abdelsalam and Carol Finn
The 180-km-long Meers-Willow fault system in the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen; a potential U.S. Mid-Continent seismic hazard
Geological Society of America Bulletin (June 2022) 135 (3-4): 663-677


We integrate new high-resolution aeromagnetic data with seismic reflection data, well logs, satellite remote sensing, and field observations to provide a regional view of buried and exposed structures in the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen and to assess their potential for future seismicity. Trends ranging from NW-SE to approximately E-W, peaking at 330 degrees + or -4.5 degrees and 280 degrees + or -3 degrees , dominate the magnetic lineaments of the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen, reflecting basement contacts, dikes, and faults, including a previously unmapped approximately 100-km-long basement fault, which is herein referred to as the Willow fault. The fault disrupts, truncates, and vertically offsets basement-related seismic reflectors and overlying Paleozoic strata up through the Permian reflectors. Surface deformation along the trend includes fault-parallel monoclinal folds, pervasive fractures, and fracture-hosted mud dikes in Permian evaporite units. These structures indicate a Permian or post-Permian reactivation of the fault. Along-strike, the Willow fault connects to the NW-trending, seismically active Meers Fault to comprise the approximately 180-km-long Meers-Willow fault system, which potentially represents a major seismic hazard along the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen. Fault slip potential analyses of the mapped potential fault traces show that seismic hazards are elevated where faults have steeper dips. Given some uncertainty in the regional stress state, we also show that hazards along the NW-SE to E-W trending faults vary considerably within the uncertainty range. We propose that the Meers-Willow fault system originated as a Cambrian aulacogen-scale, basement-rooted fault that was later reactivated as a left-lateral strike-slip fault (with approximately 40 km displacement) during the late Paleozoic Ancestral Rocky Mountain orogeny, highlighting that lateral offset accommodated a major component of deformation during the orogen.

ISSN: 0016-7606
EISSN: 1943-2674
Serial Title: Geological Society of America Bulletin
Serial Volume: 135
Serial Issue: 3-4
Title: The 180-km-long Meers-Willow fault system in the Southern Oklahoma Aulacogen; a potential U.S. Mid-Continent seismic hazard
Affiliation: Oklahoma State University, Boone Pickens School of Geology, Stillwater, OK, United States
Pages: 663-677
Published: 20220624
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 74
Accession Number: 2023-005209
Categories: Structural geologyApplied geophysics
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sect., geol. sketch map
N34°00'00" - N35°00'00", W101°00'00" - W98°00'00"
Secondary Affiliation: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, USA, United StatesUniversity of California at Davis, USA, United StatesUniversity of Oklahoma, USA, United StatesApplied Stratigraphix, USA, United StatesU. S. Geological Survey, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2023, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 202305
Program Name: USGSOPNon-USGS publications with USGS authors
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