Abstract

The Yakima fold and thrust belt (YFTB) deforms the Columbia River Basalt Group flows of Washington State. The YFTB fault geometries and slip rates are crucial parameters for seismic‐hazard assessments of nearby dams and nuclear facilities, yet there are competing models for the subsurface fault geometry involving shallowly rooted versus deeply rooted fault systems. The YFTB is also thought to be analogous to the evenly spaced wrinkle ridges found on other terrestrial planets. Using seismic reflection data, borehole logs, and surface geologic data, we tested two proposed kinematic end‐member thick‐ and thin‐skinned fault models beneath the Saddle Mountains anticline of the YFTB. Observed subsurface geometry can be produced by 600–800 m of heave along a single listric‐reverse fault or ∼3.5  km of slip along two superposed low‐angle thrust faults. Both models require decollement slip between 7 and 9 km depth, resulting in greater fault areas than sometimes assumed in hazard assessments. Both models require initial slip much earlier than previously thought and may provide insight into the subsurface geometry of analogous comparisons to wrinkle ridges observed on other planets.

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