Quaternary Fault and Fold Database of the United States (2023)

qfaults web comp

As of January 12, 2017, the USGS maintains a limited number of metadata fields that characterize the Quaternary faults and folds of the United States. For the most up-to-date information, please refer to the interactive fault map.

Kentucky River fault system (Class B) No. 2650

Last Review Date: 1994-03-17

citation for this record: Crone, A.J., compiler, 1994, Fault number 2650, Kentucky River fault system, in Quaternary fault and fold database of the United States: U.S. Geological Survey website, https://earthquakes.usgs.gov/hazards/qfaults, accessed 02/07/2023 11:15 AM.

Synopsis Kentucky River fault system is one of a series of major regional fault systems that extends east-northeasterly across Kentucky. The western members of these fault systems are the Shawneetown and Rough Creek (discussed separately as Class C faults) fault systems in southern Illinois and western Kentucky. The Kentucky River fault system crosses central and eastern Kentucky, and the Woodward fault is the eastern member of this network in western West Virginia. Information on Quaternary faulting in the fault system is based on work of Van Arsdale (1986 #684). Although this study found evidence of Quaternary deformation in trenches across various strands of the fault system, the amount of deformation is generally small and could be related to collapse from solution of the underlying bedrock. The evidence is equivocal, and thus the feature is assigned to Class B in this compilation.Van Arsdale's (1986 #684) report of possible Quaternary movement on this regional fault system is based on studies at four sites on various fault strands. Because there is no geomorphic expression of Quaternary faulting at any of these sites, it is impossible to define and measure specific fault parameters (azimuth, length, etc.) for Quaternary faulting.
Name comments
County(s) and State(s) MADISON COUNTY, KENTUCKY
Physiographic province(s) INTERIOR LOW PLATEAUS
Reliability of location Good
Compiled at 1:226,000 scale.

Comments: The regional location of VanArsdale's four study sites are shown in figure 2 of Van Arsdale (1986 #684), and for each study site, he provides a more detailed map. The digital data for each of the four study sites is derived from his regional location map (his figure 2).

Geologic setting The Kentucky River fault system (KRFS) forms part of the northern boundary of the Rome trough, which is interpreted to be part of an east-trending aulacogen of late Precambrian to early Paleozoic age. In Early Paleozoic time, the north-south-trending Cincinnati arch developed in central Kentucky. The part of the KRFS studied by Van Arsdale (1986 #684) lies on the eastern flank of the arch. Throughout their history, faults in the system have had senses of slip that included sinistral, dextral, normal, and reverse slip. The net throw on the faults is down-to-the-south, and cumulative displacement of Precambrian rocks in Van Arsdale's study area is approximately 463 m (cited by Van Arsdale).
Length (km) km.
Average strike
Sense of movement Normal, Reverse

Comments: Van Arsdale (1986 #684) documents folding and faulting in trenches at several sites, all of which indicate compressional deformation in Quaternary deposits. In contrast, these faults are mapped as normal faults on the state geologic map of McDowell and others (1981 #693).

Dip Direction SW; NE

Comments: Dips reported in the trenches range between 25–80°.

Paleoseismology studies Van Arsdale (1986 #684) describes detailed studies at four sites along the fault system. These detailed study sites were identified following reconnaissance work that consisted of electrical-resistivity surveys and drilling a series of auger holes across the projected traces of faults at 25 sites.

At one site, no deformation was documented in Quaternary deposits.

At a second site (2650-1), Van Arsdale excavated five trenches across these faults and found faulted Quaternary deposits in two of the trenches. Faulted Quaternary deposits in one trench have a maximum stratigraphic separation of 0.7 m across a reverse fault that dips 70° to the northeast, and in another trench, two N. 40° W.-trending faults formed a small graben.

At a third site (2650-2), Van Arsdale (1986 #684) describes evidence of folding that postdates deposition of Kentucky River terrace deposits; these deposits may have as much as 1.1 m of stratigraphic separation. He cites three possible explanations for the folding including solution collapse. On the basis of one radiocarbon date, he concludes that the deformation occurred within the past 350 years.

At the fourth site, he did not find evidence of faulting or deformation in Quaternary deposits.

Van Arsdale (1986 #684) argues that solution collapse is not likely to be responsible for the features found in the trenches. However the characteristics of the deformation are not inconsistent with minor subsidence related to the development of solution-collapse features in carbonate rocks. The existing evidence of a tectonic origin for these features is equivocal, and therefore they are classified as Class B features.

Geomorphic expression None.
Age of faulted surficial deposits Quaternary terrace deposits of the Kentucky River. Age of deposits is uncertain but is believed to be Pliocene-Pleistocene.
Historic earthquake
Most recent prehistoric deformation undifferentiated Quaternary (<1.6 Ma)

Comments: The age of faulted Quaternary deposits is poorly known. At Van Arsdale's second site (1986 #684), he indicates that the faulted deposits are estimated to be pre-Illinoian (730,000-900,000) based on the weathering profile formed in the deposits.

Recurrence interval

Comments: No individual earthquakes have been recognized, so no recurrence interval can be calculated.

Slip-rate category Less than 0.2 mm/yr

Comments: The greatest vertical displacement of Quaternary deposits reported by Van Arsdale (1986 #684) is 0.7 m at the second site. At the third site, Quaternary deposits, conservatively estimated to be 500,000 yr old, may have as much as 1.1 m of stratigraphic separation. On the basis of this information, the lowest slip-rate category is suggested for the KRFS.

Date and Compiler(s) 1994
Anthony J. Crone, U.S. Geological Survey, Emeritus
References #693 McDowell, R.C., Grabowski, G.J., Jr., and Moore, S.L., 1981, Geologic map of Kentucky: U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with The Eleventh Kentucky Geological Survey, 4 sheets, scale 1:250,000.

#684 VanArsdale, R.B., 1986, Quaternary displacement on faults within the Kentucky River fault system of east-central Kentucky: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 97, p. 1382-1392.


What is the USGS quaternary fold and fault database? ›

The Quaternary Fault and Fold Database contains the results of thousands of scientific assessments of faults and associated folds in the United States that demonstrate geologic evidence for coseismic surface deformation in the Quaternary (the past 1,600,000 years).

What fault system is the United States? ›

San Andreas Fault, major fracture of the Earth's crust in extreme western North America. The fault trends northwestward for more than 800 miles (1,300 km) from the northern end of the Gulf of California through western California, U.S., passing seaward into the Pacific Ocean in the vicinity of San Francisco.

Where are the fault lines in USA? ›

The New Madrid Seismic Zone

This 150 mile-long series of faults stretches under five states: Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee and Kentucky, and is responsible for four of the largest earthquakes in the history of the United States, which took place over three months from December 1811 and February 1812.

What is a quaternary fault? ›

A Quaternary fault is one that has been recognized at the surface and that has moved in the past 1,600,000 years (1.6 million years). That places fault movement within the Quaternary Period, which covers the last 2.6 million years.

How do I get USGS data? ›

If you are looking for a particular data set and cannot find it through Internet searches or our Science Data Catalog, please call USGS Science Information Services toll-free at 1-888-392-8545 or use this website to send us a message or to initiate a live Web chat with a Science Information Specialist.

How do I get earthquake data from USGS? ›

  1. 1-888-392-8545.
  2. Email.
  3. Web Chat.
  4. USGS Store 1-888-275-8747.
Nov 7, 2019

What is the deadliest fault line in the US? ›

While the San Andreas fault gets much of the attention, it's the Hayward fault that quake experts consider the most dangerous fault in America.

What is the biggest fault line in United States? ›

However, the boundary of the Pacific and North America tectonic plates that form California's sleeping giant—the more than 1,200-km San Andreas Fault—has a 75% chance of producing an M7. 0 quake or greater in the next 30 years, according to the United States Geological Survey.

What is the largest fault line in United States? ›

The San Andreas Fault is a continental transform fault that extends roughly 1,200 kilometers (750 mi) through California. It forms the tectonic boundary between the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate, and its motion is right-lateral strike-slip (horizontal).

Where are the most major faults in the US? ›

The San Francisco Bay Area also suffers from the unfortunate confluence of large populations and active faults. However, the nine counties of the Bay Area are home to dozens of major faults — the San Andreas, the Calaveras, the Concord-Green Valley, the San Gregorio, the Rodgers Creek and the Hayward, chief among them.

What state has the most fault lines? ›

1. California

The seismic activity in California is widely known, and high-hazard areas cover large sections of the state, including the San Francisco Bay area, Los Angeles, and San Diego. The San Andreas Fault has caused some of the most notable earthquakes in recent memory.

What city is built on a fault line? ›

Los Angeles & San Francisco, United States of America

Californians have long awaited the San Andreas Fault Line's next victim—and the question has usually been, LA or San Fransisco?

What does Quaternary mean in geology? ›

The Quaternary Period is the third and last of the three periods of the Cenozoic Era. You and I are living in this period, which began only 2.58 million years ago. This is less than 0.1% of all of geologic time! A thin layer of sediments deposited during the Quaternary covers much of the Earth's land surface.

Why is it called the Quaternary? ›

They were named using Latin root words. In Latin, quatr means four. Early geologists chose the name Quaternary for the fourth period in this system. We no longer use this system of dividing geologic time, but the name, Quaternary, is still commonly used for the most recent period in geologic time.

What is the major geological events of Quaternary? ›

Answer and Explanation: During the Quaternary Period, volcanic eruptions transformed landscapes, temperatures cooled and lands glaciated, landscapes changed, and sea levels rose. This period was a time of flux; the temperatures of the atmosphere shifted, and various volcanic eruptions transformed landscapes.

Is USGS data free? ›

USGS-authored or produced data and information are considered to be in the U.S. public domain and can be freely used without permission.

Is USGS A good source? ›

USGS information is published in many media. Due to the scientific nature of the information, it passes through many quality assurance reviews, including rigorous peer review, prior to approval and release to ensure the reliability, objectivity, and integrity of the information.

How accurate is USGS? ›

USGS topographic maps adhere to "National Map Accuracy Standards". As applied to the USGS 7.5-minute quadrangle topographic map, the horizontal accuracy standard requires that the positions of 90 percent of all points tested must be accurate within 1/50th of an inch on the map.

Is USGS data public? ›

USGS-authored or produced data and information are considered to be in the U.S. public domain and can be freely used without permission.

Where can I get seismic data? ›

Seismic Data Sources
  • Global Seismographic Network. ...
  • FDSN. ...
  • Regional Networks. ...
  • Virtual Networks at the IRIS DMC. ...
  • PASSCAL. ...
  • Other Sources. ...
  • National Earthquake Information Center, World Data Center for Seismology, Denver, Colorado. ...
  • International Seismological Centre, United Kingdom.

How to download earthquake records? ›

Earthquake Data Download
  1. Set the start time to something like 1950. Note carefully the positions of the start and end times; it is easy to get them reversed.
  2. Enter the bounding box coordinates. ...
  3. Get the CSV format in the output options.
  4. You can accept the defaults for the other parameters.
Apr 19, 2019

What are 3 states in the US that have a high earthquake risk? ›

The two states that tend to get the most earthquakes on average are California and Alaska. Other states with high amounts of seismic activity include Nevada, Hawaii, Washington state, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Oregon.

What state has no earthquakes? ›

Is there any place in the world that doesn't have earthquakes? Florida and North Dakota are the states with the fewest earthquakes. Antarctica has the least earthquakes of any continent, but small earthquakes can occur anywhere in the World.

Which part of the US has the biggest risk of earthquakes? ›

Below is a map showing the risk of damage by earthquakes for the continental United States. Highest earthquake hazards in the USA are found on the west coast, the western mountain range, the midwest south of the Great Lakes, the southern coast of Alaska, and the big island of Hawaii.

Where is the largest fault line in the world? ›

Answer and Explanation: The biggest fault line in the world is the fault line that makes up the Ring of Fire. The fault is not only the largest, but it also the most active among all the faults in the world. Located around the Pacific Ocean, the Ring of Fire consists of multiple earthquake and volcanic activity.

What is the most famous fault line in the world? ›

The San Andreas Fault is the most famous fault in the world. Its notoriety comes partly from the disastrous 1906 San Francisco earthquake, but rather more importantly because it passes through California, a highly-populated state that is frequently in the news.

What is the largest earthquake ever recorded that is closest to us? ›

On March 27, 1964 at 5:36pm local time (March 28 at 3:36 UTC) an earthquake of magnitude 9.2 occurred in the Prince William Sound region of Alaska.

What state is the most earthquake prone? ›

California has more earthquakes that cause damage than any other state. Alaska and California have the most earthquakes (not human-induced).

How many years overdue is the San Andreas fault? ›

Narrator: On average, the San Andreas Fault ruptures every 150 years. The southern parts of the fault have remained inactive for over 200 years.

Is the US on a fault line? ›

Fault lines are spread throughout the United States. Many are located in California and the American west, but there are some that exist in the central and eastern regions of the U.S. – they just haven't been as active.

Will the Cascadia tsunami reach Portland? ›

Will a Tsunami hit Portland? No! Portland is too far from the Ocean to be in danger of a tsunami. Portland, like Salem and Eugene, is in the Willamette Valley, about 60 miles from the ocean.

Which 6 states are most at risk for these earthquakes? ›

The 16 states with areas facing the highest risk are Alaska, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

Can a 10.0 earthquake happen in California? ›

No, earthquakes of magnitude 10 or larger cannot happen. The magnitude of an earthquake is related to the length of the fault on which it occurs.

What city is known as earthquake City? ›

Charleston, South Carolina, claims the nickname “Earthquake City.” On August 31, 1886, Charleston suffered from the largest earthquake in history to strike the east coast of the United States. Sixty were killed in the quake, which had an estimated Richter magnitude of 6.6.

Will California become an island? ›

No, California is not going to fall into the ocean. California is firmly planted on the top of the earth's crust in a location where it spans two tectonic plates.

What fault line is in the Appalachian Mountains? ›

The Brevard Fault Zone is a 700-km long and several km-wide thrust fault that extends from the North Carolina-Virginia border, runs through the north metro Atlanta area, and ends near Montgomery, Alabama. It is an important Paleozoic era feature in the uplift of the Appalachian Mountains.

What fault line is the big one earthquake? ›

West Valley Fault

The fault could trigger the “Big One” and be followed by a tsunami, according to PHIVOLCS. Knowing these major and active faults in the Philippines, it becomes clear why earthquakes frequent different parts of the country. If you live in a high-risk area, go beyond doing the duck, cover, and hold.

What's an example of Quaternary? ›

Some proteins form assemblies (units) with other molecules – this is called the quaternary structure (Figure 14). Two examples are: haemoglobin which is an assembly of four globular proteins and the actin microfilament, composed of many thousands of actin molecules.

What is another name for the Quaternary? ›

In geology, the Quaternary Period (also known as the Age of Humans) got its name from being the fourth named period of geologic time.

What is a Quaternary example? ›

Some examples of quaternary services or products are- autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, 3D printing, big data, the internet of things, quantum computing, robotics, and nanotechnology.

What is the importance of Quaternary Geology? ›

Quaternary sediments, glaciers, and landforms contain most of the proxy records of past climate and catastrophes that are relevant to us. Accordingly, Quaternary researchers are at the forefront of the scientific movement to provide information of value to the public and policy makers.

What caused the Quaternary extinction? ›

The late Quaternary megafauna extinction was a severe global-scale event. Two factors, climate change and modern humans, have received broad support as the primary drivers, but their absolute and relative importance remains controversial.

Are we in an ice age? ›

At least five major ice ages have occurred throughout Earth's history: the earliest was over 2 billion years ago, and the most recent one began approximately 3 million years ago and continues today (yes, we live in an ice age!).

Are we still in the Quaternary Period? ›

The quaternary period began 2.6 million years ago and extends into the present.

How long has Earth been in the Quaternary Period? ›

Geology. The 2.58 million years of the Quaternary represents the time during which recognisable humans existed. Over this geologically short time period there has been relatively little change in the distribution of the continents due to plate tectonics.

What event started the Quaternary Period? ›

The Quaternary period was the time when the continents stabilized into their modern positions. The climate changed significantly during this time as well. It began with huge polar ice sheets. There were times when the glacial ice covered Asia, North America, and Europe.

What is USGS data used for? ›

The U.S. Geological Survey is the nation's largest water, earth, and biological science and civilian mapping agency. It collects, monitors, analyzes, and provides scientific understanding of natural resource conditions, issues, and problems.

What does USGS measure? ›

Measuring stream stage

Most U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamgages measure stage and consist of a structure in which instruments used to measure, store, and transmit the stream-stage information are housed. Stage, sometimes called gage height, can be measured using a variety of methods.

What scale does the USGS use for earthquakes? ›

Although numerousintensity scales have been developed over the last several hundred years to evaluate the effects of earthquakes, the one currently used in the United States is the Modified Mercalli (MM) Intensity Scale. It was developed in 1931 by the American seismologists Harry Wood and Frank Neumann.

How many USGS categories are there? ›

The four USGS audience types are core professional, noncore professional, the general public, and USGS employees.

Is USGS data free to use? ›

USGS-authored or produced data and information are considered to be in the U.S. public domain and can be freely used without permission.

Is USGS a reliable source? ›

USGS information is published in many media. Due to the scientific nature of the information, it passes through many quality assurance reviews, including rigorous peer review, prior to approval and release to ensure the reliability, objectivity, and integrity of the information.

Who controls the USGS? ›

The USGS is a bureau of the United States Department of the Interior; it is that department's sole scientific agency. The USGS employs approximately 8,670 people and is headquartered in Reston, Virginia.
United States Geological Survey.
Agency overview
Parent agencyUnited States Department of the Interior
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Who does the USGS report to? ›

The USGS (United States Geological Survey) is a science bureau within the United States Department of the Interior.

What coordinate system does USGS use? ›

The UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator) coordinate system divides the world into sixty north-south zones, each 6 degrees of longitude wide.

Why is Richter scale no longer used? ›

The Richter Scale was replaced because it worked largely for earthquakes in Southern California, and only those occurring within about 370 miles of seismometers. In addition, the scale was calculated for only one type of earthquake wave.

What is the largest earthquake ever recorded? ›

The most powerful earthquake recorded on the Richter scale was the 9.5-magnitude Valdivia Earthquake that struck Chile in 1960, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The seismic event created a tsunami which together killed an estimated 5,700 people. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami registered a 9.3 magnitude.

What is the best earthquake scale? ›

Moment magnitude estimates are about the same as Richter magnitudes for small to large earthquakes. But only the moment magnitude scale is capable of measuring M8 (read "magnitude 8") and greater events accurately.

What is a USGS quad? ›

Quadrangle maps or quads are a type of topographic map produced by the United States Geological Survey (USGS) that divides the United States into areas or quadrangles bounded by lines of latitude and longitude. These maps have two distinctive features: 7.5-minute length and breadth at a 1:24,000 scale. 1.

What is a USGS 7.5 quad? ›

Most USGS map series divide the United States into quadrangles bounded by two lines of latitude and two lines of longitude. For example, a 7.5-minute map shows an area that spans 7.5 minutes of latitude and 7.5 minutes of longitude, and it is usually named after the most prominent feature in the quadrangle.

What are the nine major types of land cover developed by the US Geological Survey? ›

Land use and land cover areas are classified into nine major categories: urban or built-up land, agricultural, rangeland, forest, water areas, wetland, barren land, tundra, and perennial snow or ice. Each general class is subdivided into several detailed level-2 classes.


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