The Wyoming State Geological Survey has published a new map depicting the Teton fault, considered a potential source of large earthquakes. It is the most detailed mapping ever completed across the length of the fault, which spans the eastern base of the Teton Range in northwestern Wyoming. State Geologist Dr. Erin Campbell says the new map has significantly increased our understanding of the Teton fault and potential hazards.
The map was produced through a collaborative effort involving state, federal, academic, and consulting geologists. Lead author of the map, Mark Zellman, says the Teton fault is significant because it is one of the fastest moving faults in the interior western United States. He says that although the fault has not moved for thousands of years, evidence from young faulting observed in trenches show the fault has moved during multiple large events since glacial retreat about 14–15 thousand years ago.
Map authors used high-resolution remote sensing data called light detection and ranging to create a detailed image of the ground surface and map the fault. Although a handful of faults in the basin and range move at higher rates, the Teton fault is unique because it is located almost entirely within the U.S. National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service land, and is at the base of a dramatic mountain range front. Its location is marked with prominent scarps that are visible from Wilson, Wyoming, to north of Jackson Lake.