Quaternary displacement on the joiner ridge fault, eastern Arkansas

Audrey C. Price, Edward W. Woolery, Ronald C. Counts, Roy B. van Arsdale, Daniel Larsen, Shannon A. Mahan, Ennis G. Beck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The New Madrid seismic zone of the central United States is an intraplate seismic zone with blind structures that are not seismically active but may pose seismic hazards. The Joiner ridge fault (JRF) is the 35-kilometer-long east-bounding fault of the Joiner ridge blind horst located in eastern Arkansas ∼50 km northwest of Memphis, Tennessee. Shallow S-wave (SH-mode) seismic reflection profiles, continuous cores, and radiometric dating of Quaternary alluvium across the JRF reveal down-to-the-east reverse faulting and folding of Eocene strata and overlying Quaternary Mississippi River alluvium. The base of the Quaternary alluvium has an age of 20.3 ka and is vertically displaced 12 m, resulting in an average slip rate of 0:6 ± 0:1 mm=yr over the past 20.3 ka. The overlying upper Wisconsinan and Holocene alluvial facies are also displaced by the JRF. These facies increase in thickness across the JRF and were used to calculate late Wisconsinan and Holocene slip histories. The JRF slipped 7 m between 20.3 and 17.5 ka, 3 m between 12.3 and 11.5 ka, and 2 m between 11.5 and 8.9 ka. No apparent slip occurred on the JRF within the last 8.9 ka. This research illustrates that slip has been intermittent and that slip magnitudes on the JRF diminished through the late Wisconsinan and early Holocene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2250-2261
Number of pages12
JournalSeismological Research Letters
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) National Earthquake Reduction Program (GS-NEHRP) Grant Number G17AP00020. The project could not have been conducted without the support of Lawrence Land Holdings who allowed us to drill and conduct geophysical surveys on their property. This project also benefitted from expertise provided by David McCray. The authors also want to thank Jerry Garrett for the use of the USGS Tennessee Water Science Center truck for our mobile dark room lab, the Kentucky Geological Survey for giving us access to their lab, and the Department of Geology and Physics at the University of Southern Indiana for allowing us to use their laser particle analyzer. Manuscript reviews by Robert Williams and Ryan Gold were particularly helpful. Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Seismological Society of America. All rights reserved.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics


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