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The Honey Lake fault zone is one of four major, northwest-striking dextral faults that constitute the northern Walker Lane in northwestern Nevada and northeastern California. Global positioning system (GPS) geodetic data indicate that the northern Walker Lane accommodates ~10%–20% of the dextral motion between the North American and Pacific plates. Regional relations suggest that dextral movement in the Honey Lake area began ca. 6–3 Ma. Five 31.3–25.3 Ma ash-flow tuffs, totaling ~250 m in thickness, were distinguished in a paleovalley in the Black Mountain area of the Diamond Mountains, southwest of the Honey Lake fault. Four of these tuffs, totaling ~200 m in thickness, also occupy a paleovalley in the Fort Sage Mountains northeast of the fault. On the basis of the similar tuff sequences, we infer that the Diamond and Fort Sage Mountains contain offset segments of a once-continuous, westerly trending late Oligocene paleovalley. Paleomagnetic data from the 25.3 Ma Nine Hill Tuff indicate negligible vertical-axis rotation in the Diamond and Fort Sage Mountains.

Correlation of the paleovalley segments in the Diamond and Fort Sage Mountains suggests 10–17 km of dextral displacement across the Honey Lake fault. About 10 km of offset is favored on the basis of constraints near the southeast end of the fault. The spread of possible offset values implies long-term slip rates of ~1.7–2.8 mm/yr for a 6 Ma initiation, and ~3.3–5.7 mm/yr for a 3 Ma initiation. These rates are comparable to slip rates inferred from Quaternary fault studies and GPS geodesy.

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