We present preliminary evidence for a ∼10,000-year earthquake record from two major fault systems based on sediment cores collected along the continental margins of western North America. New stratigraphic evidence from Cascadia demonstrates that 13 earthquakes ruptured the entire margin from Vancouver Island to at least the California border since the eruption of the Mazama ash 7700 years ago. The 13 events above this prominent stratigraphic marker have an average repeat time of 600 years, and the youngest event ∼300 years ago coincides with the coastal record. We also extend the record of past earthquakes to the base of the Holocene (at least 9800 years ago), during which 18 events correlate along the same region. The sequence of Holocene events in Cascadia appears to contain a repeating pattern of events, a tantalizing first look at what may be the long-term behavior of a major fault system.

The northern California margin cores show a cyclic record of turbidite beds that may represent Holocene earthquakes on the northern segment of the San Andreas Fault. Preliminary results are in reasonably good agreement with onshore paleoseismic data that indicate an age for the penultimate event in the mid-1600s at several sites and the most likely age for the third event of ∼AD 1300.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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