ABSTRACT

We collected new high‐resolution P‐wave seismic‐reflection data to explore for possible faults beneath a roughly linear cluster of early to mid‐Holocene earthquake‐induced sand blows to the south of Marianna, Arkansas. The Daytona Beach sand blow deposits are located in east‐central Arkansas about 75 km southwest of Memphis, Tennessee, and about 80 km south of the southwestern end of the New Madrid seismic zone (NMSZ). Previous studies of these sand blows indicate that they were produced between 10,500 and 5350 yr B.P. (before A.D. 1950). The sand blows are large and similar in size to those in the heart of the NMSZ produced by the 1811–1812 earthquakes. The seismic‐reflection profiles reveal a previously unknown zone of near‐vertical faults imaged in the 100–1100‐m depth range that are approximately coincident with a cluster of earthquake‐induced sand blows and a near‐linear surface lineament composed of air photo tonal anomalies. These interpreted faults are expressed as vertical discontinuities with the largest displacement fault showing about 40 m of west‐side‐up displacement at the top of the Paleozoic section at about 1100 m depth. There are about 20 m of folding on reflections within the Eocene strata at 400 m depth. Increasing fault displacement with depth suggests long‐term recurrent faulting. The imaged faults within the vicinity of the numerous sand blow features could be a causative earthquake source, although it does not rule out the possibility of other seismic sources nearby. These newly located faults add to a growing list of potentially active Pleistocene–Holocene faults discovered over the last two decades that are within the Mississippi embayment region but outside of the historical NMSZ.

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