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    Timing and amount of southern Cascadia earthquake subsidence over the past 1700 years at northern Humboldt Bay, California, USA

    Padgett, Jason S. and Engelhart, Simon E. and Kelsey, Harvey M. and Witter, Robert C. and Cahill, Niamh and Hemphill-Haley, Eileen (2021) Timing and amount of southern Cascadia earthquake subsidence over the past 1700 years at northern Humboldt Bay, California, USA. GSA Bulletin, 133 (9-10). pp. 2137-2156. ISSN 0016-7606

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    Stratigraphic, lithologic, foraminiferal, and radiocarbon analyses indicate that at least four abrupt mud-over-peat contacts are recorded across three sites (Jacoby Creek, McDaniel Creek, and Mad River Slough) in northern Humboldt Bay, California, USA (∼44.8°N, −124.2°W). The stratigraphy re- cords subsidence during past megathrust earthquakes at the southern Cascadia sub- duction zone ∼40 km north of the Mendocino Triple Junction. Maximum and minimum radiocarbon ages on plant macrofossils from above and below laterally extensive (>6 km) contacts suggest regional synchroneity of subsidence. The shallowest contact has ra- diocarbon ages that are consistent with the most recent great earthquake at Cascadia, which occurred at 250 cal yr B.P. (1700 CE). Using Bchron and OxCal software, we model ages for the three older contacts of ca. 875 cal yr B.P., ca. 1120 cal yr B.P., and ca. 1620 cal yr B.P. For each of the four earthquakes, we ana- lyze foraminifera across representative mud- over-peat contacts selected from McDaniel Creek. Changes in fossil foraminiferal as- semblages across all four contacts reveal sud- den relative sea-level (RSL) rise (land subsid- ence) with submergence lasting from decades to centuries. To estimate subsidence during each earthquake, we reconstructed RSL rise across the contacts using the fossil foraminif- eral assemblages in a Bayesian transfer func- tion. The coseismic subsidence estimates are 0.85 ± 0.46 m for the 1700 CE earthquake, 0.42 ± 0.37 m for the ca. 875 cal yr B.P. earth- quake, 0.79 ± 0.47 m for the ca. 1120 cal yr B.P. earthquake, and ≥0.93 m for the ca. 1620 cal yr B.P. earthquake. The subsidence esti- mate for the ca. 1620 cal yr B.P. earthquake is a minimum because the pre-subsidence paleoenvironment likely was above the upper limit of foraminiferal habitation. The subsid- ence estimate for the ca. 875 cal yr B.P. earth- quake is less than (<50%) the subsidence es- timates for other contacts and suggests that subsidence magnitude varied over the past four earthquake cycles in southern Cascadia.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: southern Cascadia; earthquake subsidence; 1700 years; northern Humboldt Bay California USA;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Mathematics and Statistics
    Item ID: 16956
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Niamh Cahill
    Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2023 12:13
    Journal or Publication Title: GSA Bulletin
    Publisher: The Geological Society of America
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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