Late Pleistocene to Holocene river terrace deformation within the Little Salmon Fault Zone: insights to tectonic transition from Cascadia Subduction to San Andreas transform stress regimes, Van Duzen river, Northern California
Monday, 15 December 2014
The southern Cascadia subduction zone (CSZ) of northwestern California exhibits northeast-directed contraction, transitioning to north-northwest directed translation within the broad San Andreas fault (SAF) transform margin to the south. The Little Salmon fault (LSF) is one of the southern-most, active thrust faults within the onshore fold and thrust belt of the CSZ, and lies proximal to the transition from compressional to dextral stress across the Mendocino Triple Junction. Thus, it is an ideal location to characterize strain associated with this complex region of transitional stress regimes. High precision topographic data (LiDAR) enabled detailed mapping of geomorphic features that would otherwise be obscured by dense vegetation of the area. A northwest trending lineament, sub-parallel and south of the main splay of the LSF is observed on LiDAR imagery. The lineament exhibits potential up-to-the-northeast offset and traverses several Van Duzen river terrace risers and treads that range from Pleistocene to potentially Holocene in age. A shallow, exploratory trench was hand-excavated across the lineament. The shallow, roughly 1.5 m-deep, 16 m-long trench exposed imbricated gravels that dip into the base of the trench in the upper end. Coring within the lower end of the trench mapped the southern extent of the gravels. The architecture of the unconsolidated, clast-supported gravel deposit displays a diffuse up-to-the-northeast step. More obvious offset may be expressed at lower depths and/or in mediums with more confining stress. The linear map expression of the lineament across relatively steep terrain suggests that the fault may be relatively steeply dipping. Conjugate deformation shear bands within Neogene bedrock nearby along the Van Duzen river provide additional information about the state of stress within this area of transition.