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TitleToward an integrative geological and geophysical view of Cascadia subduction zone earthquakes
AuthorWalton, M A L; Staisch, L M; Dura, T; Pearl, J K; Sherrod, B; Wang, KORCID logo
SourceAnnual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences vol. 49, 2021 p. 367-398, Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesNatural Resources Canada, Contribution Series 20200482
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
ProvinceBritish Columbia
AreaVancouver Island; Canada; United States of America
Lat/Long WENS-133.4581 -119.6061 52.5361 40.7139
SubjectsScience and Technology; earthquakes; Pacific Northwest
Illustrationslocation maps; cross-sections; diagrams; photographs; charts
ProgramPublic Safety Geoscience Assessing Earthquake Geohazards
Released2021 01 05
AbstractThe Cascadia subduction zone (CSZ) is an exceptional geologic environment for recording evidence of land level changes, tsunamis, and ground motion that reveals at least 19 great megathrust earthquakes over the past 10 kyr. Such earthquakes are among the most impactful natural hazards on Earth, transcend national boundaries, and can have global impact. Reducing the societal impacts of future events in the US Pacific Northwest and coastal British Columbia, Canada requires improved scientific understanding of megathrust earthquake rupture, recurrence, and corresponding hazards. Despite substantial knowledge gained from decades of research, large uncertainties remain about the characteristics and frequencies of past CSZ earthquakes. In this review, we summarize geological, geophysical, and instrumental evidence relevant to understanding megathrust earthquakes along the CSZ and associated uncertainties. We discuss how the evidence constrains various models of great megathrust earthquake recurrence in Cascadia and identify potential paths forward for the earthquake science community.
Summary(Plain Language Summary, not published)
A great challenge in assessing seismic and tsunami hazard from Cascadia megathrust earthquakes is the lack of historically and instrumentally recorded earthquakes of this type along this margin. A primary source of information is geological evidence of occurrence of megathrust events in the past. The geological evidence contains large uncertainties and is often controversial. This review article synthesizes the geological evidence obtained over the past few decade, clarifies many scientific and technical issues, and presents the state of knowledge of this research.

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