Geophysical insights into the Transition fault debate: Propagating strike slip in response to stalling Yakutat block subduction in the Gulf of Alaska
On the basis of faulting mapped on seismic reflection and bathymetric data, seismicity, current plate motions, and evidence that the Yakutat block may be anomalously thick, we propose a tectonic model for Yakutat-Pacific interactions, including the often-debated Transition fault. To the east, deformation associated with the Queen Charlotte–Fairweather fault system is extending offshore, facilitating westward propagation of strike-slip motion along the eastern segment of the Transition fault. To the west, the oblique-slip Pamplona zone and Transition faults merge at an embayment in the continental margin, where a north-south dextral strike-slip fault within the Pacific plate, illuminated by the 1987–1992 earthquake swarm, intersects the Pacific-Yakutat tectonic boundary. These fault patterns are consistent with modern plate motions and reflect a plate boundary reorganization that may be caused by resistance to subduction by the Yakutat block, a possible moderate-sized oceanic plateau.
Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping
Journal or Conference Title
Geological Society of America
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Gulick, S. P. S., Lowe, L. A., Pavlis, T. L., Gardner, J. V. & Mayer, L. A. Geophysical insights into the Transition fault debate: Propagating strike slip in response to stalling Yakutat block subduction in the Gulf of Alaska. Geology 35, 763 (2007).