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Sci Rep. 2019 Jun 25;9(1):9214. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-45497-1.

Accommodation, slip inversion, and fault segmentation in a province-scale shear zone from high-resolution, densely spaced wide-aperture seismic profiling, Centennial Valley, MT, USA.

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Khalifa University, Department of Earth Sciences, P.O. Box 127788, Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Lehigh University, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, 18015, Bethlehem, PA, USA.
Idaho Geological Survey, Moscow, ID, 83844, USA.


We acquired a ~9-km long, high-resolution reflection seismic profile in the Centennial Valley, Montana, to better understand the kinematics of basin bounding faults and their role in accommodating proposed right-lateral shear in the Northern Basin and Range adjacent to the Yellowstone hotspot. In pursuing these goals, our findings have also shed light on the development of hanging wall stratigraphy and seismic hazards for this part of the SW Montana seismic belt. Here we present the profile and a working interpretation that identifies fault inversion, and an oblique, anticlinal accommodation zone linking the Centennial and Lima Reservoir faults in the Centennial Valley. These interpretations are consistent with seismicity and GPS-geodetically observed right-lateral shear aligned with the Centennial Valley north of the Yellowstone hotspot. Data were acquired using dense, wide-aperture arrays and illuminate the subsurface stratigraphy and faults down to ~1200 m, showing that the basin is a half-graben with a southern depocenter driven by the listric geometry of the north-dipping Centennial fault. Reflectors onlap basement highs with growth geometry against these faults. Our interpretation of a bright basal reflection as the Timber Hill Basalt (~6 Ma) or related flow, is consistent with a late Miocene - Pliocene inception of the basin proposed by other research. We also note a small inversion structure that we interpret as local evidence of transpression in the shear zone. This transpression is part of the accommodation zone and seismogenic faults including the Lima Reservoir fault that has well-expressed Holocene surface ruptures a few kilometres west of the seismic line along the northern edge of the Centennial basin.

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