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Structure and Stratigraphy of a Section Across the White Mountains, California


Fiedler, William Morris (1937) Structure and Stratigraphy of a Section Across the White Mountains, California. Master's thesis, California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/4AM8-R235.


The paper deals with the detailed physiography, stratigraphy, and structure of a section two miles wide across the White Mountains of California and Nevada. In the study of the detailed problems of this area many of the observations made suggest general relationships involving the White Mountains as a whole. The White Mountains consist of a tilted horst block, raised along marginal faults which separate the range from the relatively depressed graben blocks on either side; Owens Valley on the west, Fish Lake Valley on the east. The range trends northwest-southeast, having an average elevation of 11,000 feet.

The area is characterised by extremely rugged topography. The physiographic features include steep, straight, marginal scarps, jagged ridges, precipitous V-shaped valleys, a relatively flat crest area, glacial cirques and moraine covered U-shaped valleys, and giant alluvial cones complicated by faulting and stream rejuvination.

Both sedimentary and igneous rocks occur in the area. The sediments include old pre-Cambrian rocks and young quaternary material. The older sediments have been folded, faulted, intruded, and, for the most part, highly metamorphosed. They include conglomerates, quartzites, phyllites, argillites, limestones, dolomites, and schists. The younger sediments consist of coarse, unconsolidated glacial till and stream gravels. The moraines are all above 8,500 feet. The alluvium flanks both sides of the range in the form of alluvial cones. Igneous rocks form a major portion of the area. The intrusives are a part of the Inyo batholith of middle or late Mesozoic. Three principal intrusive types occur in the area; two granites and a quartz-diorite. The intrusives have altered both the attitude and composition of the sediments into which they have risen. The extrusives in the area are all basalt and include pre-Cambrian, Tertiary, and Quaternary flows.

The structure of the area is complex. Folding and faulting have played major roles. Examples of both regional and of local drag folding were found. Faulting is evidenced by very numerous faults of widely different extent and displacement.

The geologic history of the White Mountains as derived from the area mapped, is essentially that typical of mountains of the Basin and range province.

Item Type:Thesis (Master's thesis)
Subject Keywords:White Mountains, Owens Valley, Fish Lake Valley, Inyo Range
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Geology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Anderson, George Harold
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:1 January 1937
Additional Information:Supplemental Files Information: Geologic map of section across White Mountains, California: Supplement 1 from "Structure and stratigraphy of a section across the White Mountains, California" (Thesis) Date(s) Collected: 1937. Geographic Location Bounding Box: -118.0 Degrees East; -118.5 Degrees West; 38.0 Degrees North; 37.5 Degrees South.
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03282010-111233792
Persistent URL:
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription 1 in CaltechDATA: Geologic map of section across White Mountains, California
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:5624
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:14 Apr 2010 22:53
Last Modified:17 Feb 2023 00:28

Thesis Files

PDF (Thesis) - Final Version
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PDF (Geologic map) - Supplemental Material
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