Are great Cascadia earthquakes recorded in the sedimentary records from small forearc lakes?
Here we investigate sedimentary records from four small inland lakes located in the southern Cascadia forearc region for evidence of earthquakes. Three of these lakes are in the Klamath Mountains near the Oregon–California border, and one is in the central Oregon Coast range. The sedimentary sequences recovered from these lakes are composed of normal lake sediment interbedded with disturbance event layers. The thickest of these layers are graded, and appear to be turbidites or linked debrites (turbidites with a basal debris-flow deposit), suggesting rapid deposition. Variations in particle size and organic content of these layers are reflected in the density and magnetic susceptibility data. The frequency and timing of these events, based on radiocarbon ages from detrital organics, is similar to the offshore seismogenic turbidite record from trench and slope basin cores along the Cascadia margin. Stratigraphic correlation of these anomalous deposits based on radiocarbon ages, down-core density, and magnetic susceptibility data between lake and offshore records suggest synchronous triggering. The areal extent and multiple depositional environments over which these events appear to correlate suggest that these deposits were most likely caused by shaking during great Cascadia earthquakes.