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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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