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Neogene tectonic evolution of the Sierra Nevada–Basin and Range transition zone at the latitude of Carson City, Nevada

By
Patricia H Cashman
Patricia H Cashman
Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada 89577, USA
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James H Trexler, Jr.
James H Trexler, Jr.
Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada 89577, USA
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Thomas W Muntean
Thomas W Muntean
Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada 89577, USA
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James E Faulds
James E Faulds
Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada 89557, USA
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John N Louie
John N Louie
Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada 89577, USA, and Nevada Seismological Laboratory, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada 89557, USA
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Gary L Oppliger
Gary L Oppliger
Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada 89577, USA, and Arthur Brant Laboratory for Exploration Geophysics, University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada 89557, USA
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Published:
April 01, 2009

Sedimentary rocks of the Neogene Gardnerville Basin record a complex normal faulting history from mid-Miocene to the present; this record bridges an important gap between contemporary tectonics and the older geologic record. The upper Neogene sediments are preserved in a west-dipping half graben, and fanning of dips within the section shows that the basin-bounding Carson Range frontal fault system to the west has been active since at least 7 Ma. In addition, the sedimentary history clearly shows that several north-striking normal faults within the basin have been active at different times during deposition. Gravity data enable us to extend the faulting history back beyond what is exposed at the surface and reveal mid-Miocene(?) normal faults that are no longer active below the western part of the basin. Gravity modeling suggests that the underlying fault-bounded basin is structurally symmetric. These faults have accommodated extension within Sierran crystalline rocks west of the Walker Lane, in the eastern part of the Sierra Nevada microplate.

The Neogene Gardnerville Basin documents the tectonic evolution of a distinctive part of the Sierra Nevada–Basin and Range transition zone. It lies west of the Walker Lane at this latitude, and, during its history from >7 Ma to the present, it shows no evidence of the distributed dextral slip that characterizes that zone. The field relation-ships, combined with sedimentology of the Neogene strata, document a multistage intrabasin faulting history during deposition; several intrabasin normal faults have acted in concert with the Carson Range frontal fault system to accommodate extension. This could be an analog for other normal fault systems in the vicinity, e.g., the Lake Tahoe Basin, immediately west of our study area.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Late Cenozoic Structure and Evolution of the Great Basin-Sierra Nevada Transition

John S. Oldow
John S. Oldow
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Patricia H. Cashman
Patricia H. Cashman
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Geological Society of America
Volume
447
ISBN print:
9780813724478
Publication date:
April 01, 2009

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