Abstract

A high-resolution aeromagnetic survey of the Puget Lowland shows details of the Seattle fault zone, an active but largely concealed east-trending zone of reverse faulting at the southern margin of the Seattle basin. Three elongate, east-trending magnetic anomalies are associated with north- dipping Tertiary strata exposed in the hanging wall; the magnetic anomalies indicate where these strata continue beneath glacial deposits. The northernmost anomaly, a narrow, elongate magnetic high, precisely correlates with magnetic Miocene volcanic conglomerate. The middle anomaly, a broad magnetic low, correlates with thick, nonmagnetic Eocene and Oligocene marine and fluvial strata. The southern anomaly, a broad, complex magnetic high, correlates with Eocene volcanic and sedimentary rocks. This tripartite package of anomalies is especially clear over Bainbridge Island west of Seattle and over the region east of Lake Washington. Although attenuated in the intervening region, the pattern can be correlated with the mapped strike of beds following a northwest-striking anticline beneath Seattle. The aeromagnetic and geologic data define three main strands of the Seattle fault zone identified in marine seismic-reflection profiles to be subparallel to mapped bedrock trends over a distance of >50 km. The locus of faulting coincides with a diffuse zone of shallow crustal seismicity and the region of uplift produced by the M 7 Seattle earthquake of a.d. 900–930.

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