Correlated Paleoseismic Interpretation of Turbidites from 3 Distinct Sedimentary Environments in the Cascadia Subduction Zone Off Vancouver Island Canada

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Tark S Hamilton, Hamilton Geoscience Service, Victoria, BC, Canada, Randolph J Enkin, Geological Survey of Canada Pacific, Vancouver, BC, Canada and Garry C Rogers, Geological Survey Canada, Sidney, BC, Canada
Sedimentary sequences containing turbidites can provide important paleoseismic records. We present sedimentary records from 3 distinct sedimentary systems which provide a reliable well-dated paleseismic record. All 3 sites are subject to strong ground shaking in the event of a megathrust earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone near Vancouver Island, Canada. Effingham Inlet is an anoxic fjord on the west coast of Vancouver Island with an age model based on radiocarbon dates from terrestrial plant material (no marine correction), the Mazama Ash, and sedimentation rates constrained by annual laminations [Dallimore et al. 2008, Enkin et al., 2013]. Barkley Canyon [Goldfinger et al., 2012], 150 km SW, has been sampled at the abyssal plain fan in front of a submarine canyon. Slipstream Slump [ms submitted], 40 km north of Barkley Canyon, is a well-preserved 3 km wide sedimentary failure from the frontal ridge of the Cascadia accretionary wedge. At Slipstream, given the 2300 m water depth and the thin weak crust at the outer edge of the accretionary wedge, megathrust earthquake shaking is the most likely trigger for the turbidity currents, with sediments sourced exclusively from the exposed slide scar. Correlations based on sedimentology and physical property logging are made between turbidites observed at Barkley Canyon and Slipstream Slump, and a mutually consistent age model is defined using only planktonic foraminiferal dates and Bayesian analysis with a Poisson-process sedimentation model. A young marine reservoir age of ΔR=0 yr brings the top to the present and produces age correlations consistent with the thickest (>10 cm) Effingham Inlet turbidites. Correlations of physical property logs tie the Effingham Inlet record to the offshore, despite the extreme differences in the sedimentology. Having good marine geophysical data and well positioned core transects allows the facies analysis needed to interpret the turbidite record. This study provides a much needed link between the marine and terrestrial paleoseismic records. The combined paleoseismic record has 10 turbidites between 10.8 and 6.6 ka, after which the offshore sites became sediment-starved and only 2 or 3 more turbidites were deposited. The recurrence interval for the inferred Early Holocene megathrust earthquakes is 460 ± 140 years.