GEOGRAPHY DEPARTMENT

 Research Activities
Last Updated: Nov 25 2007

1) Cascadia paleoseismology

Paleoseismology is the study of ancient earthquakes.  Most of my research has focused on wetland environments as recorders of late Holocene earthquakes in Cascadia.  These anaerobic wetland environments altered by prehistoric tremblors record information about earthquake magnitude and age.  Repeat earthquakes leave repeat signatures within sediments.  To document hydroseral succession (flood events) that result from past earthquakes, I use pollen and plant macrofossil assemblages preserved in wetland sediments as proxies for past plant communities.

Dendrochronology provides relative dating of earthquakes undifferentiated by radiocarbon ages. Coastal wet-lands of southern Puget Sound preserve upland forests that subsided into the intertidal in response to past surface-rupturing earthquakes about 1100 years ago. Inherent, radio-carbon age-estimate errors prohibit our ability to discern whether these faults ruptured at the same time or within a few centuries of each other. Comparisons of tree-ring growth pat-terns may allow us to determine the relative timing of these earthquakes.

2) Professional Memberships

Canadian Association of Geographers
American Association of Geographers
Tree-Ring Society

3) Representative publications

Barnett, E.A., H. Kelsey, B. Sherrod, J. Hughes, E. Schermer, R. Haugerud, C. Weaver, E. Siedlecki, R. Blakely. 2007. Active faulting at the northeast margin of the Greater Puget Lowland: a trenching and wetland coring study of the Kendall fault scarp, Whatcom County, Northwest Washington. GSA Cordilleran Section, 103rd Annual Meeting (4–6 May 2007), Paper #121073.

Barnett, E.A., H.M. Kelsey, B.L. Sherrod, R.J. Blakely, J.F. Hughes, E.R. Schermer, R.A. Haugerud, C.S. Weaver, and E. Siedlecki. 2006. Active faulting at the northeast margin of the greater Puget Lowland: a paleoseismic and magnetic-anomaly study of the Kendall scarp, Whatcom County, Northwest Washington. Eos Trans. AGU 87(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract S31A-0183.

Hughes, J.F. 2005. Meters of Synchronous Holocene Slip on two strands of a fault in the western Puget Sound Lowland, Washington. Eos Trans. AGU 86(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract S51C-1020.

Blakely, R.J., J.F. Hughes, B.L. Sherrod, and R.E. Wells. 2005. Hunting the saddle mountain fault zone in the Olympic Peninsula with airplane and canoe. Eos Trans. AGU 86(52), Fall Meet. Suppl., Abstract S51C-1021.

Hughes, J.F. and R.W. Mathewes. 2003. A modern analogue for plant colonization of palaeotsunami sands in Cascadia, British Columbia, Canada. The Holocene 13: 877-886.

Hughes, J.F., R.W. Mathewes, and J.J. Clague. 2002. Use of pollen and vascular plants to estimate coseismic subsidence at a tidal marsh near Tofino, British Columbia. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology 185: 145-161.

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