Using Paleoseismic Trenching and LiDAR Analysis to Evaluate Rupture Propagation Through Segment Boundaries of the Central Wasatch Fault Zone, Utah
Wednesday, 17 December 2014: 12:05 PM
Paleoseismic data near fault segment boundaries constrain the extent of past surface ruptures and the persistence of rupture termination at segment boundaries. Paleoseismic evidence for large (M≥7.0) earthquakes on the central Holocene-active fault segments of the 350-km-long Wasatch fault zone (WFZ) generally supports single-segment ruptures but also permits multi-segment rupture scenarios. The extent and frequency of ruptures that span segment boundaries remains poorly known, adding uncertainty to seismic hazard models for this populated region of Utah. To address these uncertainties we conducted four paleoseismic investigations near the Salt Lake City-Provo and Provo-Nephi segment boundaries of the WFZ. We examined an exposure of the WFZ at Maple Canyon (Woodland Hills, UT) and excavated the Flat Canyon trench (Salem, UT), 7 and 11 km, respectively, from the southern tip of the Provo segment. We document evidence for at least five earthquakes at Maple Canyon and four to seven earthquakes that post-date mid-Holocene fan deposits at Flat Canyon. These earthquake chronologies will be compared to seven earthquakes observed in previous trenches on the northern Nephi segment to assess rupture correlation across the Provo-Nephi segment boundary. To assess rupture correlation across the Salt Lake City-Provo segment boundary we excavated the Alpine trench (Alpine, UT), 1 km from the northern tip of the Provo segment, and the Corner Canyon trench (Draper, UT) 1 km from the southern tip of the Salt Lake City segment. We document evidence for six earthquakes at both sites. Ongoing geochronologic analysis (14C, optically stimulated luminescence) will constrain earthquake chronologies and help identify through-going ruptures across these segment boundaries. Analysis of new high-resolution (0.5m) airborne LiDAR along the entire WFZ will quantify latest Quaternary displacements and slip rates and document spatial and temporal slip patterns near fault segment boundaries.