2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 182-8
Presentation Time: 10:10 AM


HORTON Jr., J. Wright, U.S. Geological Survey, 926A National Center, Reston, VA 20192, CHAPMAN, Martin C., Department of Geosciences, Virginia Tech, 4044 Derring Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061 and GREEN, Russell A., Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Virginia Tech, 120B Patton Hall, Blacksburg, VA 24061, whorton@usgs.gov

The Mw 5.7-5.8 Mineral, Virginia, earthquake of 2011 was marginally the largest to occur in the eastern U.S. since the 1886 Charleston, S.C., earthquake. It was felt over much of the eastern U.S. and southeastern Canada, caused significant damage from central Virginia to the National Capital Region, and was responsible for the first automatic safe shutdown of a nuclear power station from an earthquake in U.S. history. Responses from the science and engineering communities to this event serve as a model for responding to future low probability, high consequence events.

A 23-chapter volume entitled “The 2011 Mineral, Virginia, Earthquake, and Its Significance for Seismic Hazards in Eastern North America” (http://specialpapers.gsapubs.org/content/509) makes results inspired by the Mineral earthquake available. The volume provides a wealth of seismologic, engineering, geologic, hydrologic, and geophysical data that contribute to the understanding of earthquakes in eastern North America and to better assessment and mitigation of seismic hazards. It also serves as a foundation and stimulus for continuing research (some in progress) such as

  • comparison of active faults illuminated by aftershock clusters with mappable geologic features;
  • seismic monitoring of the Mineral aftershock sequence and other small earthquakes in the central Virginia seismic zone for insights into active fault geometries, stress-field perturbations, and the role of Coulomb stress transfer;
  • analyses of paleoliquefaction features and other seismites for evidence of prehistoric earthquake magnitudes, ages and recurrence intervals;
  • analyses of river channel and terrace geometries for insights into young surface deformation;
  • geologic mapping, trenching, lidar analyses, and geophysical imaging to test models for driving mechanisms of seismicity in relation to intraplate strain and favorably oriented geologic structures;
  • structural analyses and dating of latest displacements on faults beyond the 2011 epicentral area such as the Everona fault and possible extensions of the Stafford fault system into Washington, D.C.; and
  • measuring ground-motion variations to test possible amplification due to coastal-plain sediment thicknesses in Washington, D.C., where buildings were damaged ~130 km northeast of the epicenter.