Jon E. Spencer, 1990. "Chapter 15: Late Cenozoic extensional and compressional tectonism in the southern and western Avawatz Mountains, southeastern California", Basin and Range Extensional Tectonics Near the Latitude of Las Vegas, Nevada, Brian P. Wernicke
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The late Cenozoic geologic history of the Avawatz Mountains reflects two successive tectonic settings. Middle Miocene high-angle normal faulting along the northwest-striking Arrastre Spring fault was associated with deposition of a thick clastic sequence that forms the lower part of the Avawatz Formation. Conglomerate and sedimentary breccia in the lower part of the Avawatz Formation were shed southwestward across the fault from a presently unrecognized terrane to the east of the Avawatz Mountains. Faulting and conglomerate deposition occurred largely between 21 and 12 Ma. This period of faulting and sedimentation is interpreted as reflecting the regional Miocene extensional tectonic setting of the southern Basin and Range Province and Mojave Desert region.
North-south shortening and associated folding and southward tilting of the largely Miocene Avawatz Formation occurred in late Miocene to Pliocene time. Interaction between the Garlock and Death Valley faults at their zone of intersection on the north flank of the Avawatz Mountains is the inferred cause of north-south compression and resultant folding and tilting of the Avawatz Formation. Continued movement on the two intersecting faults led to development of an increasingly arcuate reverse-fault system along the north and east flanks of the Avawatz Mountains. Quaternary deformation is characterized by northeast-directed reverse faulting, southwestward tilting, rapid uplift of the Avawatz Mountains, and probable counterclockwise rotation of faults and fault blocks in the northwestern Avawatz Mountains at the east end of the Garlock fault.