Abstract

Significant uncertainty remains concerning how and where crustal shortening occurs throughout the eastern Cascade Range in Washington State. Using light detection and ranging (lidar) imagery, we identified an 5kmlong lineament in Swakane canyon near Wenatchee, roughly coincident with a strand of the Entiat fault. Topographic profiles across the lineament reveal a southwest‐side‐up break in slope, with an average of 2–3 m of vertical separation of the hillslope surface. We consider a range of possible origins for this feature, including differential erosion across a fault‐line scarp, slope failure (sackung or landslide), and surface deformation across an active fault strand. Based on trenching, radiocarbon and luminescence dating, and ground‐penetrating radar (GPR) across the lineament, we conclude that warped saprolite observed in the shallow subsurface is most consistent with southwest‐side‐up folding caused by blind reverse faulting at depth. Following this reasoning, dating of overlying colluvial deposits suggests that at least one Holocene earthquake occurred on this strand of the southern Entiat fault, with an approximate vertical separation of 1  m. GPR reveals up to 4 m of cumulative vertical separation of the saprolite, suggesting a history of multiple earthquakes on the structure. Taken in context with other potential fault‐related lineaments along the Entiat fault, our interpretation of Holocene earthquakes in Swakane canyon could suggest reactivation of longer sections of the Entiat fault, as well as of other bedrock faults in the eastern Cascades. Although active erosion and slow strain rates lead to a subdued geomorphic expression of recent deformation, we conclude that the reactivated Entiat fault represents a seismogenic structure that should be considered in regional seismic hazard analyses. The difficulty of recognizing low‐slip‐rate structures in forested and mountainous terrain underscores the importance of additional lidar surveys and geological and geophysical studies for fully understanding seismic hazard in regions with infrequent but potentially large earthquakes.

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