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Extensional tectonics in the Basin and Range province and the geology of the Grapevine Mountains, Death Valley region, California and Nevada

Citation

Niemi, Nathan Alan (2002) Extensional tectonics in the Basin and Range province and the geology of the Grapevine Mountains, Death Valley region, California and Nevada. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechETD:etd-09122001-155631

Abstract

Geologic mapping provides structural and stratigraphic observations which lead to new insights into the magnitude, timing, and rate of Cenozoic extensional tectonism in the Death Valley region of the Basin and Range province in the western United States. Detailed mapping of the Grapevine Mountains, in northeastern Death Valley, yields new information on the structural evolution of the Titus Canyon anticline, a west-vergent fold of the Cordilleran thrust belt. The Grapevine Mountains contain the longest exposure of west-vergent folding in the Death Valley region, and detailed mapping supports previous interpretation of this structure as a piece of a single, laterally continuous fold, whose extensionally dismembered fragments form a key marker in reconstructions of Basin and Range extension. Such an interpretation suggests >100 km of west-north-west translation of the Grapevine Mountains away from the Sheep Range in late Cenozoic time. Correlation and re-interpretation of Cenozoic sedimentary and volcanic strata between the Sheep Range and the Grapevine Mountains indicate that this extension occurred on two separate extensional systems, the Sheep Range detachment system, and the Northeastern Death Valley detachment system. The former was active from 16-14 Ma, while the latter was active from 12.5-8 Ma. In contrast, stratigraphic and sedimentological data from the Eagle Mountain Formation suggests that, although extension across the central Death Valley region accommodated a similar magnitude of extension as the northern Death Valley region, ~100 km, extension across this region occurred post-11 Ma, and largely between 8-6 Ma. New geodetic and paleoseismic data are also presented from the eastern Basin and Range. These data indicate that slow (~4 mm/yr), long term (100s ka) strain accumulation is accommodated, geologically, by short (1000s yr) periods of fast (>1cm/yr) strain release, suggesting that the appearance of diffuse deformation across the eastern Basin and Range is likely due to time-averaging of many temporally discrete high-strain release earthquake clusters. These observations together suggest that the diffuse nature of intra-continental extension in the Basin and Range province may be the result of the summation of many spatially and temporally distinct extensional events, which, when active, progress at very high rates

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Cenozoic; geodesy; geologic mapping; paleoseismology; Sevier detachment; stratigraphy; structural geology
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Wernicke, Brian P.
Thesis Committee:
  • Stock, Joann M. (chair)
  • Wernicke, Brian P.
  • Saleeby, Jason B.
  • Farley, Kenneth A.
Defense Date:16 August 2001
Author Email:niemi (AT) gps.caltech.edu
Record Number:CaltechETD:etd-09122001-155631
Persistent URL:http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechETD:etd-09122001-155631
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:3477
Collection:CaltechTHESIS
Deposited By: Imported from ETD-db
Deposited On:13 Sep 2001
Last Modified:26 Dec 2012 03:00

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