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Detailed understanding of crustal components and tectonic history of forearcs is important due to their geological complexity and high seismic hazard. The principal component of the Cascadia forearc is Siletzia, a composite basaltic terrane of oceanic origin. Much is known about the lithology and age of the province. However, glacial sediments blanketing the Puget Lowland obscure its lateral extent and internal structure, hindering our ability to fully understand its tectonic history and its influence on modern deformation. In this study, we apply map-view interpretation and two-dimensional modeling of aeromagnetic and gravity data to the magnetically stratified Siletzia terrane revealing its internal structure and characterizing its eastern boundary. These analyses suggest the contact between Siletzia (Crescent Formation) and the Eocene accretionary prism trends northward under Lake Washington. North of Seattle, this boundary dips east where it crosses the Kingston arch, whereas south of Seattle the contact dips west where it crosses the Seattle uplift (SU). This westward dip is opposite the dip of the Eocene subduction interface, implying obduction of Siletzia upper crust at this southern location. Elongate pairs of high and low magnetic anomalies over the SU suggest imbrication of steeply-dipping, deeply rooted slices of Crescent Formation within Siletzia. We hypothesize these features result from duplication of Crescent Formation in an accretionary fold-thrust belt during the Eocene. The active Seattle fault divides this Eocene fold-thrust belt into two zones with different structural trends and opposite frontal ramp dips, suggesting the Seattle fault may have originated as a tear fault during accretion.


This article has been contributed to by U.S. Government employees and their work is in the public domain in the USA.


Published by the American Geophysical Union.