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Deformation of the late Miocene to Pliocene Inyo Surface, eastern Sierra region, California

By
A.S Jayko
A.S Jayko
U.S. Geological Survey, White Mountain Research Station, Bishop, California 93514, USA
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Published:
April 01, 2009

A middle and late Miocene erosion surface, the Inyo Surface, underlies late Miocene mafic flows in the White Mountains and late Miocene and (or) early Pliocene flows elsewhere in the eastern Sierra region. The Inyo Surface is correlated with an erosion surface that underlies late Miocene mafic flows in the central and northern Sierra Nevada. The mafic flows had outpourings similar to flood basalts, although of smaller volume, providing paleohorizontal and paleolowland indicators. The flows filled and locally topped the existing landscape forming broad plateau-like flats. Topographic relief in the region was characterized by weathered and rounded slopes prior to late Miocene mafic magmatism. Relicts of the older landscape lie adjacent to late Miocene and early Pliocene basalt-covered lowlands that now occur within the crests of ranges that have 2500–3000 m relief and dramatically steep escarpments. Late Miocene mafic flows that lie on the crest of the Sierra Nevada adjacent to the White Mountains predate significant activity on the Sierra Nevada frontal fault zone. These deposits and accompanying erosion surfaces provide excellent strain markers for reconstructing part of the Walker Lane north of the Garlock fault and west of the Amargosa drainage, here referred to as the eastern Sierra region.

The Inyo Surface is a compound erosional surface that records at least four major erosion events during the Cenozoic. These four surfaces were first recognized on the Kern Plateau and named from oldest to youngest, the Summit Upland, the Subsummit Plateau, the Chagoopa Plateau, and the Canyon. The three older surfaces have also been subsequently modified by Pleistocene glaciation. The compound erosion surface, which is locally overlain by late Miocene mafic flows in the northern and central Sierra Nevada, is here referred to as the Lindgren Surface. Correlatives in the eastern Sierra region are found in the White Mountains, Inyo Mountains, Darwin Plateau, Coso Range, and nearby ranges.

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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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