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A well-defined axis of maximum dilation within the ca. 148 Ma Independence dike swarm is significantly offset across Owens Valley. Dilation by diking within the axis of maximum dilation is greater than 5%, commonly exceeds 10%, and locally ranges over 40%. Elsewhere in the swarm, dilation rarely ranges above 2%. The axis of maximum dilation steps ∼75–130 km rightward across Owens Valley, although the offset is difficult to measure precisely because the dike swarm is diffuse and intersects the valley at a relatively low angle. Comparison with other recently investigated geologic markers favors 65 ± 5 km of dextral offset since 83.5 Ma and perhaps an additional 10–65 km of offset prior to 83.5 Ma. Although Owens Valley is a locus of modern dextral slip, regional relations suggest that most of the 65 km of dextral displacement accumulated in Latest Cretaceous–early Paleogene (Laramide) time, when Cordilleran subduction was strongly right-oblique. Thermobarometric, structural, stratigraphic, and geochronologic evidence from the southern Sierra Nevada have previously been interpreted to reflect south-directed tectonic unroofing of deep-crustal rocks to form a metamorphic core complex during Laramide time. Large-magnitude Laramide right slip across Owens Valley thus may have been transferred southward into extension in the southern Sierra Nevada. Linked systems of late-Laramide to post-Laramide strike-slip faults and metamorphic core complexes have long been recognized in the plutonic-metamorphic core of the northern Cordillera. Recognition of this tectonic style in California suggests that it may have characterized most of the western Cordilleran orogen at this time.

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