Abstract

Coastline deformation resulting from great shallow thrust earthquakes can provide information concerning the paleoseismicity of a subduction zone and thus information on the nature of potential seismicity. The Cascadia subduction zone is different from most other subduction zones in that it has been quiescent with respect to great earthquakes for at least the past 200 yr. The Washington-Oregon coastline also differs from most other coastlines associated with subduction zones in its lack of uplifted Holocene shoreline features and low overall rate of late Quaternary uplift (0.2-0.6 mm/yr). The uplift differences suggest that repeated great earthquakes have not occurred along the Cascadia subduction zone at least during the late Holocene. Alternatively, if the plate interface has generated earthquakes, the differences may be explained by longer recurrence intervals for great earthquakes, smaller magnitude earthquakes, or a mechanism that does not result in uplift of the coastline where expected.

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