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Unraveling the Causes of Seismic Activity in the Cook Inlet Basin: Tectonic Shifts, Structural Fault Systems, and Seismogenic Liquefaction Features

Earthquakes stand as one of the Earth’s most potent natural phenomena. They occur due to sudden releases of energy caused by the shifting of tectonic plates in the Earth’s crust. A prime area of seismic activity is centered around major fault lines, one of which is the Cook Inlet basin region – a hotbed for crustal seismicity. There are three primary sources which contribute towards seismic activity in this region: the folds and faults of the Cook Inlet basin, the Castle Mountain Fault, and an unspecified third cause.

The Cook Inlet basin, marked by large fold and fracture systems, demonstrates high seismic activity primarily due to periodic stress release as Earth’s tectonic plates shift and collide. The Castle Mountain Fault, another notable structurally complex system, further amplifies the generated seismic waves leading to more frequent and violent quakes.

Seismogenic liquefaction features, a consequence of certain quakes, have been identified within the northeastern region (NER). These features, which include multiple sand dykes and sand sills, are typically formed when the seismic waves cause the groundwater saturated soil to briefly lose strength and stiffness, resulting in a kind of soil eruption, which leaves behind traces such as the aforementioned dykes and sills.

This condensed analysis offers a glimpse into the intricate and volatile nature of seismicity, with intricate alignments of geological structures playing a major role in determining earthquake occurrence.


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