Evaluation of Potential Post-Glacial Faults Using Bare-Earth LiDAR Topographic Data Near Ridley Island, British Columbia
I present results of my evaluation to identify topographic lineaments that are potentially related to post-glacial faulting using bare-earth LiDAR topographic data near Ridley Island, British Columbia. The purpose of this evaluation has been to review bare-earth LiDAR data for evidence of post-glacial faulting in the area surrounding Ridley Island and provide a map of the potential faults to review and possibly field check. My work consisted of an extensive literature review to understand the tectonic, geologic, glacial and sea level history of the area and analysis of bare-earth LiDAR data for Ridley Island and the surrounding region. Ridley Island and the surrounding north coast of British Columbia have a long and complex tectonic and geologic history. The north coast of British Columbia consists of a series of accreted terranes and some post-accretionary deposits. The accreted terranes were attached to the North American continent during subduction of the Pacific Plate between approximately 200 Ma and 10 Ma. The terrane and post-accretionary deposits are metamorphosed sedimentary, volcanic and intrusive rocks. The rocks have experienced significant deformation and been intruded by plutonic bodies. Approximately 10 Ma subduction of the Pacific Plate beneath the North America Plate ceased along the central and north coast of British Columbia and the Queen Charlotte Fault Zone was formed. The Queen Charlotte Fault Zone is a transform-type fault that separates the Pacific Plate from the North America Plate. Within the past 1 million years, the area has experienced multiple glacial/interglacial cycles. The most recent glacial cycle occurred approximately 23,000 to 13,500 years ago. Few Quaternary deposits have been mapped in the area. The vast majority of seismicity around the northwest coast of British Columbia occurs along the Queen Charlotte Fault Zone. Numerous faults have been mapped in the area, but there is currently no evidence to suggest these faults are active (i.e. have evidence for post-glacial surface displacement or deformation). No earthquakes have been recorded within 50 km of Ridley Island. Several small earthquakes (less than magnitude 6) have been recorded within 100 km of the island. These earthquakes have not been correlated to active faults. GPS data suggests there is ongoing strain in the vicinity of Ridley Island. The strain has the potential to be released along faults, but the calculated strain may be a result of erroneous data or accommodated aseismically. Currently, the greatest known seismic hazard to Ridley Island is the Queen Charlotte Fault Zone. LiDAR data for Ridley Island, Digby Island, Lelu Island and portions of Kaien Island, Smith Island and the British Columbia mainland were reviewed and analyzed for evidence of postglacial faulting. The data showed a strong fabric across the landscape with a northwest-southeast trend that appears to mirror the observed foliation in the area. A total of 80 potential post-glacial faults were identified. Three lineaments are categorized as high, forty-one lineaments are categorized as medium and thirty-six lineaments are categorized as low. The identified features should be examined in the field to further assess potential activity. My analysis did not include areas outside of the LiDAR coverage; however faulting may be present there. LiDAR data analysis is only useful for detecting faults with surficial expressions. Faulting without obvious surficial expressions may be present in the study area.