Abstract

The 1988, magnitude mb 5.9 (mbLg 6.5) Saguenay, Quebec, earthquake occurred in a region considered to be aseismic, but the epicenter was less than 100 km northwest of the seismically active region of Charlevoix. Lake sediment cores representing some 3000 yr of sediment accumulation contain abnormal silt layers attributed to seismic shaking events prior to the 1988 earthquake. The layers are formed by the relatively rapid settling of the silt portion of the seismically resuspended organic-rich sediment. Cores were obtained over a distance of 120 km, perpendicular to the Saguenay graben structure. Several silt layers are much thicker and more widely distributed than the effect of the 1988 earthquake and are comparable to those observed at Charlevoix that were produced by magnitude 6 to 7 events. The silting events do not correlate between the sampled lakes nor does the pattern match that at Charlevoix, so that the shaking events are interpreted to be of local origin. The recurrence interval for magnitude ≧6 earthquakes ranges from 350 to 1000 yr, in contrast to the roughly 75-yr historical recurrence of earthquakes of magnitude greater than 6 at Charlevoix.

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