Late Cenozoic fault geometry, structure, paleoseismicity, and patterns of recent seismicity at two seismic zones along the Olympic-Wallowa lineament (OWL) of western Idaho, northeast Oregon, and southeast Washington indicate limited right-oblique slip displacement along multiple northwest-striking faults that constitute the lineament. The southern end of the OWL originates in the Long Valley fault system and western Snake River Plain in western Idaho, where it accommodates basin-and-range extension. Several kilometers west of the Long Valley fault system, post-middle Miocene displacement along the OWL has resulted in adjacent areas of uplift and subsidence.
The OWL in northeast Oregon consists of a wide zone of northwest-striking faults and is associated with several large, inferred, pull-apart basins. The OWL then emerges from the Blue Mountain uplift as a much narrower zone of faults in the Columbia Plateau known as the Wallula fault zone (WFZ). Structural relationships in the WFZ strongly suggest that it is a right-slip extensional duplex. An ash horizon that correlates with the Mount St. Helens "J" composition (10.7 Ka) is displaced vertically 5 m by a normal fault along a segment of the WFZ. The intensity center for a damaging M = 6.1 earthquake in 1936 is located in the WFZ only a few kilometers northeast of this Holocene fault. Other youthful-appearing, strike-slip and thrust faults are located farther northwest along the OWL and may pose a seismic hazard to adjacent population centers and critical facilities.