Abstract

Vibroseis seismic-reflection profiles around the southwestern end of the Blytheville arch document the southwesterly extent of the arch and refine the length of a fault zone that coincides with the arch. The 74.3 km of newly interpreted profiles and previously described profiles form a network of lines across and around the southern end of the arch. The southwestern terminus of the arch is defined by the absence of significantly upwarped or extensively disrupted reflectors, which are diagnostic traits of the arch where it is well developed. The arch is 134 km long as documented here, which is only slightly longer than the length reported by previous studies. Differing opinions about the magnitude of the 1811–1812 New Madrid earthquakes could be partly explained by substantially longer seismic source zones, but this minor increase in source zone length does not reconcile the large differences in magnitude estimates of the events. If future earthquake ruptures associated with the arch are confined to areas of extensive deformation, then this well documented southwestern termination precludes a rupture substantially longer than ∼134 km along the zone of seismicity that coincides with the axis of the Reelfoot rift.

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