Aerial view of the Queen Valley and Coaldale faults at the
northern end of White Mountains.
Photo by D. Stockli
Sierra Nevada normal fault, Onion Creek.
Cenozoic Intraplate Deformation in the Eastern California Shear Zone-Walker Lane Belt
This research centers on the kinematics, tectonics, and dynamics of
the northern part of the Eastern California Shear Zone and
Lane Belt, California-Nevada. These two regions straddle a complex zone of deformation—the boundary between dominantly east-west extension in the
Basin and Range Province to the east and dominantly NW-dextral shear along the
Pacific-North American plate boundary to the west.
The interaction between extension and transcurrent shear has resulted
in the development of an intricate array of faults that accommodate intraplate strain.
Our geologic mapping, combined with structure, kinematic, tectonic geomorphology, paleoseismology, thermochronology, and geochronology investigations,
focuses on three regions. The first region is the
northern part of the Eastern California Shear Zone where we are investigating
the kinematics and tectonics of a system of intraplate dextral and normal faults.
The second region is the Mina deflection, part of the southern Walker Lane Belt, where we are studying
an intricate geometric and kinematic system of dextral, sinistral, normal, and thrust faults. The third area is in the central Walker Lane, in the Gillis and Gabbs Valley ranges, NV, where
our studies center on the Miocene to Holocene slip history along NW-striking dextral faults.
Our research on the
spatial and temporal patterns
of strain release during the Cenozoic to Recent times is motivated by ongoing geodetic investigations on
the present-day magnitude of strain accumulation and patterns of strain distribution across the
Eastern California Shear Zone and Walker Lane Belt, and on hypotheses proposed for the geodynamic evolution of this region.
An accurate characterization of the temporal and spatial strain
distribution within the Eastern California Shear Zone and Walker Lane Belt is crucial for
understanding tectonic processes over a much broader area of intraplate deformation associated
with the interaction between the Farallon and North American plates and the Pacific and North American plates.
Student Research Projects
- Peter Dubyoski (MS, CWU), in progress, Dextrally offset tuff-filled paleovalleys in the central Walker Lane: A field-based study.
- J. Bodie McCosby (MS, CWU), 2019, Characterizing the deformation history of the southern Mina Deflection: Field and structural
studies in the Huntoon Mountains, California-Nevada.
- Andrew Hoxey (MS, CWU), 2018, Spatial and temporal characterization of dextrally offset tuff-filled paleovalleys in the central Walker Lane, Nevada.
- Kevin DeLano (MS, CWU), 2015, Geologic mapping in the northern Eastern California Shear Zone, California:
Testing a kinematic and geometric fault slip transfer model.
- Rachelle Warren (MS, CWU), 2014, Testing kinematic fault-slip models in the Eastern California Shear Zone–Walker Lane Belt:
Field studies in the southwestern Mina deflection, California.
- Zach Lifton (PhD, Georgia Tech), 2013, Understanding an evolving diffuse plate boundary with geodesy and geochronology.
- Sarah Nagorsen (MS, CWU), 2011, Pliocene sinistral slip across the Adobe Hills, western Mina deflection, California-Nevada.
- David Bradley (MS, Univ. of Kansas), 2005, Constraints on the
magnitude and rate of Pliocene to Recent slip along the left-lateral Coaldale fault,
central Walker Lane Belt, Nevada.
- Kit Tincher (MS, Univ. of Kansas), 2005, Pliocene faulting
in eastern Queen Valley, Nevada: Implications for strain transfer in the central Walker Lane Belt.
John Casteel (MS, CWU), 2005, Late Miocene to Holocene faulting along the southwestern Inyo
Mountains fault zone, eastern California.
Kimberly Le (MS, CWU), 2004, Late Pleistocene to Holocene extension
across the Sierra Nevada range front fault system, California.
Jeffrey Schroeder (MS, CWU), 2003, Late Pleistocene dextral slip along the
White Mountains fault zone, California.
- Jason Garwood (Senior thesis, CWU), 2003
Recent fault slip in Queen Valley,
California: Implications for fault kinematics in the Eastern California Shear Zone.
Ken Austin, Will Blanton, Ana Cadena, Erik Johansen, and
(Senior thesis, CWU), 1997, Magnitude of offset and relative age dating of faulting along
the Deep Springs fault, California.
Publications (* = student author)
- Lee, J., Hoxey, A.K.R.*, Calvert, A., and Dubyoski, P.*, 2020, Plate boundary trench retreat and dextral shear drive intracontinental
fault slip histories: Neogene dextral faulting across the Gabbs Valley and Gillis Ranges, Central Walker Lane, Nevada,
Geosphere, in press.
- Lifton, Z.M., Lee, J., Frankel, K.L., Newman, A.V., and Schroeder, J.M.*, 2020, Quaternary slip rates on the White Mountains fault zone, eastern
California: Implications for comparing geologic to geodetic slip rates across the Walker Lane, Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 132, https//doi.org/10.1130/B35332.1.
- Delano, K.*, Lee, J., Roper, R.*, and Calvert, A., 2019, Dextral, normal, and sinistral faulting across the Eastern California shear
zone-Mina deflection transition, California-Nevada, Geosphere, v. 15, https//doi.org/10.1130/GES01636.1.
Nagorsen-Rinke, S.*, Lee, J., and Calvert, A., 2013,
Pliocene sinistral slip across the Adobe Hills, eastern California-western Nevada: Kinematics of fault slip transfer
across the Mina Deflection,
Geosphere, v. 9, doi:10.1130/GES00825.1 [pre-print PDF].
Owen, L.A., Frankel, K.L., Knott, J.R., Reynhout, S., Finkel, R.C., Dolan, J.F., and Lee, J., 2010,
Beryllium-10 terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide surface exposure dating of Quaternary landforms in Death Valley,
Geomorphology, v. 25, p. 541-557, doi:10.1016/j.geomorph.2010.10.024.
Frankel, K.L., Lee, J., Bishop, K., Dawers, N., Ganev, P. Unruh, J., and Owen, L., 2010,
Miocene-Quaternary tectonic evolution of the northern eastern California shear zone,
in Clifton, H.E. and Ingersol, R. (eds.),
Geologic excursions in California and Nevada: tectonics, stratigraphy, and hydrogeology: Pacific Section, SEPM
(Society for Sedimentary Geology), Book 108, p. 173-231.
Lee, J., Garwood, J.*, Stockli, D.F, and Gosse, J., 2009,
Quaternary faulting in Queen Valley, California-Nevada:
Implications for kinematics of fault slip transfer in the Eastern California Shear Zone-Walker Lane Belt,
Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 121, p. 599-614, doi:10.1130/B26352.1.
Lee, J., Stockli, D.F., Owen, L.A., Finkel, R.C., and Kislitsyn, R.*, 2009,
Exhumation of the Inyo Mountains, California: Implications for the timing of extension along the western boundary of
the Basin and Range Province and distribution of dextral fault slip rates across the Eastern California Shear Zone,
Tectonics, v. 28, TC1001, doi:10.1029/2008TC002295. [PDF]
Le, K.*,Lee, J., Owen, L.A., and Finkel, R., 2007,
Late Quaternary slip rates along the Sierra Nevada frontal fault zone, California: Slip partitioning
across the western margin of the Eastern California Shear Zone-Basin and Range Province.
Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 119, p. 240–256; doi: 10.1130/B25960.1.
Lee, J., Stockli, D., Schroeder, J.*, Tincher, C.*, Bradley, D., Owen, L., Gosse, J., Finkel, R., and Garwood, J.*, 2006,
Fault slip transfer in the Eastern California Shear Zone-Walker Lane Belt. Geological Society of America Penrose Conference
Field Trip Guide, (Kinematics and Geodynamics of Intraplate Dextral Shear in Eastern California and Western Nevada, Mammoth Lakes, California, 21-26 April 2005),
26 p., doi: 101130/2006.FSTITE.PFG.
Glazner, A.F., Lee, J., Bartley, J.M., Coleman, D.S., and Kylander-Clark, A.*, Green, D.C., and Le, K.*, 2005,
Large dextral offset across Owens Valley, California from 148 Ma to 1872 A.D., in Western Great Basin Geology,
Stevens, C. and Cooper, J. (eds.), The Pacific Section Society of Sedimentary Geology, Book 99, p. 1-35.
Lee, J., Spencer, J., and Owen, L., 2001, Holocene slip rates along the Owens Valley fault, California:
Implications for the recent evolution of the Eastern California Shear Zone. Geology, v. 29, 819-822.
Lee, J., Rubin, C.M., and Calvert, A.*, 2001, Quaternary faulting history along the Deep Springs fault,
California. Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 113, p. 855-869. [PDF]
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