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Low-Angle Normal Faulting, Marys River Valley, Nevada

B.A. Robison
B.A. Robison
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January 01, 1983


The Tertiary history of the Basin and Range Province of the western United States is characterized by voluminous eruption of Eocene to Miocene age intermediate composition volcanic rock accompanied and/or directly post-dated by broadly distributed extensional tectonics (Lipman, Prostka, and Christiansen, 1972; Davis, 1980; Eaton, 1980; Zoback, Anderson, and Thompson, 1981). Within the last decade it has become increasingly recognized that much of the extension has been accommodated by low-angle and listric normal faulting (Anderson, 1971; Wright and Troxel, 1973; Proffett, 1977). The purpose of this paper is to illustrate and describe the subsurface geometry and evolution of one range-bounding low-angle normal fault and the associated sedimentary fill. It supplements seismic interpretations from the Basin and Range Province previously published by McDonald (1976) and Effimoff and Pinezich (1981).

Marys River Valley is located near the town of Wells in northeastern Nevada (Figure 1). The valley is bounded on the east by the Snake Mountains, a northeastward tilted range consisting of thrusted lower Paleozoic geosynclinal rocks unconformably overlain by upper Paleozoic strata (Gardner, 1968; Peterson, 1968). West of the valley lie outcrops of Tertiary age rhyolitic to andesitic flows, breccias, and tuffs as well as tuffaceous sedimentary rocks (Stewart and Carlson, 1978).

The reflection seismic profile presented here begins just west of the bounding fault of the Snake Mountains and trends approximately perpendicular to its near-surface trace. The profile extends west for 8.4 mi (13.4 km) and is relatively straight. High data quality and integration with additional seismic control and data from four nearby exploratory wells results in an internally consistent geologic interpretation.

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AAPG Studies in Geology

Seismic Expression of Structural Styles: A Picture and Work Atlas. Volume 1–The Layered Earth, Volume 2–Tectonics Of Extensional Provinces, & Volume 3–Tectonics Of Compressional Provinces

A. W. Bally
A. W. Bally
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American Association of Petroleum Geologists
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Publication date:
January 01, 1983




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