The Mount Hood fault zone, active faulting at the crest of the dynamic Cascade Range, north-central Oregon, USA

Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, Portland State University
By: , and 



The Mount Hood fault zone is a N-trending, ~55-km-long zone of active faulting along the western margin of the Hood River graben in north-central Oregon. The Mount Hood fault zone occurs along the crest of the Cascade Range and consists of multiple active fault segments. It is presently unclear how much Hood River graben extension is actively accommodated on the fault zone, and how Cascade intra-arc extension accommodates regional patterns of clockwise rotation and northwest translation of crustal blocks in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. Evidence for Holocene activity on the Mount Hood fault zone was discovered in 2009 after acquisition of high-resolution lidar topography of the area. This trip will visit sites displaying evidence of Holocene surface rupture on fault strands within the Mount Hood fault zone. Day 1 starts with a two-hour drive from Portland to Mount Hood, a 3429-m-high glaciated active volcano, where we will visit sites south of the summit along the Twin Lakes fault segment, including several fault scarps and two sites where dating of offset buried soils constrains the timing of the most recent surface-rupturing event to the Holocene. Day 1 includes two hikes of ~1 km and will be partly cross-country. The trip will overnight at the historic Timberline Lodge, an architectural masterpiece from the Civilian Conservation Corps (1933–1942) era, located at tree line on the southern flank of Mount Hood. Day 2 will visit sites north of the summit, stopping along the Blue Ridge fault segment to view the site of 2011 paleoseismic trenches and an offset glacial moraine. We will visit an unusual uphill-facing scarp in coarse talus along the Gate Creek fault segment near the north end of the Mount Hood fault zone. We will conclude Day 2 with a short hike into the Mark O. Hatfield Wilderness along the Gate Creek fault segment to view evidence of a surface-rupturing earthquake that occurred only a few centuries ago, illuminated by a nearby paleoseismic trench hand-dug in 2020. Our neotectonic and paleoseismic data are among the first efforts to document and characterize seismic sources within the Mount Hood fault zone. However, even with our new age data, fault slip rates and earthquake recurrence remain poorly constrained. With our limited earthquake timing data, it is not clear whether all segments of the Mount Hood fault zone rupture together as a ≥ M 7 earthquake, or alternatively, if the fault segments rupture independently in a sequence of smaller ~M 6–sized events.

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Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title The Mount Hood fault zone, active faulting at the crest of the dynamic Cascade Range, north-central Oregon, USA
DOI 10.1130/2021.0062(03)
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Geological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
Description 23 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Subtype Monograph
Larger Work Title From Terranes to Terrains: Geologic Field Guides on the Construction and Destruction of the Pacific Northwest
First page 49
Last page 71
Country United States
State Oregon
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