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The site of the modern Teton Range and Jackson Hole was formerly occupied by an extensive basement uplift, the Ancestral Teton-Gros Ventre uplift. This uplift rose during the Laramide orogeny along the northeast-dipping Cache Creek thrust fault, exposed along Teton Pass at the south end of the present Teton Range. The Cache Creek thrust fault abuts the “thin-skinned” Jackson thrust fault at Teton Pass, marking the boundary between two major tectonic provinces: the Sevier fold-thrust belt and the Laramide foreland province.

The modern Teton Range is a westward tilted block of Precambrian basement rock that is bounded along its precipitous eastern flank by the east-dipping Teton normal fault. Other normal faults at the south end of the Teton Range include the Open Canyon and Phillips Canyon normal faults in the footwall of the Teton normal fault and normal faults that bound East and West Gros Ventre Buttes in the hanging wall of the Teton normal fault. It is proposed that the Cache Creek thrust fault has been reactivated as a detachment for these late Cenozoic normal faults, resulting in rigid-body, “domino” rotation of basement blocks above the Cache Creek thrust fault. This interpretation not only explains such structural relationships at the south end of the Teton Range, as the southern termination of the Teton normal fault and adjacent normal faults at the surface trace of the Cache Creek thrust but also explains fluvial drainage patterns on the floor of Jackson Hole. Although not as common as reactivated Sevier thrust faults, the model of a reactivated Laramide thrust fault is not unique along the eastern margin of the Basin and Range province and is supported by other examples.

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