Aerial view of the Queen Valley and Coaldale faults at the northern end of White Mountains. Photo by D. Stockli triangular facet Sierra Nevada normal fault, Onion Creek.

Cenozoic Intraplate Deformation in the Eastern California Shear Zone-Walker Lane Belt
Project Summary

This research centers on the kinematics, tectonics, and dynamics of the northern part of the Eastern California Shear Zone and central Walker 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
Publications (* = student author)

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