Gravity and magnetic anomalies suggest that the Olympia structure beneath the southern Puget Lowland (western Washington State, U.S.) vertically displaces Eocene Crescent Formation strata. Northeast of the Olympia structure, middle Eocene Crescent Formation is beneath 4–6 km of Paleogene–Neogene and Quaternary strata of the Tacoma basin, whereas the Crescent Formation is exposed at the surface immediately to the south. Although numerous marine seismic reflection profiles have been acquired near the surface location of the Olympia structure as defined by potential field anomalies, its tectonic character remains enigmatic, in part because inlets of southern Puget Sound are too shallow for the collection of deep-penetration marine seismic profiles across the geophysical anomalies. To supplement existing shallow-marine data near the structure, we acquired 14.6 km of land-based seismic reflection data along a profile that extends from Crescent Formation exposed in the Black Hills northward across the projected surface location of the Olympia structure. The reflection seismic data image the Crescent bedrock surface to ∼1 km depth beneath the southern Tacoma basin and reveal the dip on this surface to be no greater than ∼10°. Although regional potential field data show a strong linear trend for the Olympia structure that implies folding over a blind thrust and/or bedrock juxtaposed against a weakly to nonmagnetic sediment section, high-resolution magnetic anomaly analysis along the land-based profile suggests that the structure is more complex. Overall, seismic and potential-field profiles presented in this study identify only minor shallow faulting within the projected surface location of the Olympia structure. We suggest that the mapped trace of the Olympia structure along the northern flank of the Black Hills, at least within the study area, is constrained by juxtaposed normal and reversely magnetized Crescent Formation units and minor tectonic deformation of Crescent Formation bedrock.
- Received 4 August 2015.
- Revision received 26 May 2016.
- Accepted 28 June 2016.
- © 2016 Geological Society of America