Abstract

The Death Valley Fault System (DVFS) is part of the southern Walker Lane–eastern California shear zone. The normal Black Mountains Fault Zone (BMFZ) and the right-lateral Southern Death Valley Fault Zone (SDVFZ) are two components of the DVFS. Estimates of late Pleistocene-Holocene slip rates and recurrence intervals for these two fault zones are uncertain owing to poor relative age control. The BMFZ southernmost section (Section 1W) steps basinward and preserves multiple scarps in the Quaternary alluvial fans. We present optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dates ranging from 27 to 4 ka of fluvial and eolian sand lenses interbedded with alluvial-fan deposits offset by the BMFZ. By cross-cutting relations, we infer that there were three separate ground-rupturing earthquakes on BMFZ Section 1W with vertical displacement between 5.5 m and 2.75 m. The slip-rate estimate is ∼0.2 to 1.8 mm/yr, with an earthquake recurrence interval of 4,500 to 2,000 years. Slip-per-event measurements indicate Mw 7.0 to 7.2 earthquakes. The 27–4-ka OSL-dated alluvial fans also overlie the putative Cinder Hill tephra layer. Cinder Hill is offset ∼213 m by SDVFZ, which yields a tentative slip rate of 1 to 8 mm/yr for the SDVFZ.

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