Abstract

Approximately 320 km of deep seismic-reflection profiles in northwestern Tennessee reveal the structure of a major portion of the southeastern margin of the Reelfoot Rift. This rift margin consists of at least two major down-to-the-west late Precambrian to Cambrian normal faults. Maximum fault displacement at one location is 3 km. These two faults strike N50°E, in their northern portions; over their southern extent they trend N30°E however.

Numerous faults in these reflection lines displace Paleozoic, Cretaceous, and Tertiary reflectors. The dominantly reverse faulting, folding, and positive flower structures in the shallower section indicate Eocene or younger transpression. We believe the late Tertiary faulting is due to reactivation of the basement faults, because on some of the reflection lines basement normal faults can be traced into Tertiary reverse faults, the Tertiary faults parallel the basement faults, and the Tertiary faults overlie or are adjacent to the basement faults. Numerous faults displace the highest (youngest) reflectors and therefore we do not know how recently faulting has occurred. Previous studies have identified Quaternary faulting within the southeastern Reelfoot Rift margin of western Tennessee, however. Thus, we believe all of the late Tertiary faults identified in this research should be evaluated for possible Quaternary movement.

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