Date of this Version
Published in Geology, October 2013; v. 41; no. 10; p. 1131–1134.
Earthquakes along convergent plate boundaries commonly occur in sequences that are complete within 1 yr, and may include 8–10 events strong enough to generate sand blows. Dune crossbeds within the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone of Utah (western United States) enclose intact and truncated sand blows, and the intrusive structures that fed them. We mapped the distribution of more than 800 soft-sediment dikes and pipes at two small sites. All water-escape structures intersect a single paleo-surface, and are limited to the upper portion of the underlying set of cross-strata and the lower portion of the overlying set. A small portion of one set of crossbeds that represents ~1 yr of dune migration encloses eight generations of eruptive events. We interpret these superimposed depositional and deformational structures as the record of a single shock-aftershock earthquake sequence. The completeness and temporal detail of this paleoseismic record are unique, and were made possible when sand blows repeatedly erupted onto lee slopes of migrating dunes. Similar records should be sought in modern dunefields with shallow water tables.