Abstract

We present a method to evaluate and integrate paleoseismic data from multiple sites into a single, objective measure of earthquake timing and recurrence on discrete segments of active faults. We apply this method to the Weber segment (WS) of the Wasatch fault zone using data from four fault-trench studies completed between 1981 and 2009. After systematically reevaluating the stratigraphic and chronologic data from each trench site, we constructed time-stratigraphic OxCal models that yield site probability density functions (PDFs) of the times of individual earthquakes. We next qualitatively correlated the site PDFs into a segment-wide earthquake chronology, which is supported by overlapping site PDFs, large per-event displacements, and prominent segment boundaries. For each segment-wide earthquake, we computed the product of the site PDF probabilities in common time bins, which emphasizes the overlap in the site earthquake times, and gives more weight to the narrowest, best-defined PDFs. The product method yields smaller earthquake-timing uncertainties compared to taking the mean of the site PDFs, but is best suited to earthquakes constrained by broad, overlapping site PDFs. We calculated segment-wide earthquake recurrence intervals and uncertainties using a Monte Carlo model. Five surface-faulting earthquakes occurred on the WS at about 5.9, 4.5, 3.1, 1.1, and 0.6 ka. With the exception of the 1.1-ka event, we used the product method to define the earthquake times. The revised WS chronology yields a mean recurrence interval of 1.3 kyr (0.7–1.9-kyr estimated two-sigma [2σ] range based on interevent recurrence). These data help clarify the paleoearthquake history of the WS, including the important question of the timing and rupture extent of the most recent earthquake, and are essential to the improvement of earthquake-probability assessments for the Wasatch Front region.

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