The West Tahoe–Dollar Point fault (WTDPF) extends along the western margin of the Lake Tahoe Basin (northern Sierra Nevada, western United States) and is characterized as its most hazardous fault. Fallen Leaf Lake, Cascade Lake, and Emerald Bay are three subbasins of the Lake Tahoe Basin, located south of Lake Tahoe, and provide an opportunity to image primary earthquake deformation along the WTDPF and associated landslide deposits. Here we present results from high-resolution seismic Chirp (compressed high intensity radar pulse) surveys in Fallen Leaf Lake and Cascade Lake, multibeam bathymetry coverage of Fallen Leaf Lake, onshore Lidar (light detection and ranging) data for the southern Lake Tahoe Basin, and radiocarbon dates from piston cores in Fallen Leaf Lake and Emerald Bay. Slide deposits imaged beneath Fallen Leaf Lake appear to be synchronous with slides in Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, and Cascade Lake. The temporal correlation of slides between multiple basins suggests triggering by earthquakes on the WTDPF system. If this correlation is correct, we postulate a recurrence interval of ∼3–4 k.y. for large earthquakes on the Fallen Leaf Lake segment of the WTDPF, and the time since the most recent event (∼4.5 k.y. ago) exceeds this recurrence time. In addition, Chirp data beneath Cascade Lake image strands of the WTDPF offsetting the lake floor as much as ∼7.5 m. The Cascade Lake data combined with onshore Lidar allow us to map the WTDPF continuously between Fallen Leaf Lake and Cascade Lake. This improved mapping of the WTDPF reveals the fault geometry and architecture south of Lake Tahoe and improves the geohazard assessment of the region.
- Received 20 October 2012.
- Revision received 3 May 2013.
- Accepted 16 May 2013.
- © 2013 Geological Society of America