Aeromagnetic interpretations of the crittenden county fault zon


The Crittenden County fault zone (CCFZ) is a potentially active fault zone located within 25 km of Memphis, Tennessee, and poses a significant seismic hazard to the region. Previous research has associated the fault zone with basement faults of the eastern Reelfoot rift margin (ERRM) and described it as a northeast-striking, northwest-dipping reverse fault. However, we suggest that there is an incomplete understanding of the fault geometry of the CCFZ and the ERRM in this region due to significant gaps in seismic reflection profiles used to interpret the fault systems. To improve our understanding of the structure of both fault systems in this region, we apply two processing techniques to gridded aeromagnetic data. We use the horizontal gradient method on reduction-to-pole magnetic data to detect magnetic contacts associated with faults as this technique produces shaper gradients at magnetic contacts than other edge detection methods. For depth to basement estimations, we use the analytic signal as the method does not require knowledge of the remnant magnetization of the source body. We suggest that the CCFZ extends approximately 16 km farther to the southwest than previously mapped and may be composed of three independent faults as opposed to a continuous structure. To the northeast, we interpreted two possible faults associated with the ERRM that intersect the CCFZ, one of which has been previously mapped as the Meeman-Shelby fault. If the CCFZ and the eastern rift margin are composed of isolated fault segments, the maximum magnitude earthquake that each fault segment may generate is reduced, thereby, lowering the existing seismic hazard both fault systems pose to Memphis, Tennessee.

Publication Title

Seismological Research Letters