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Abstract

Eocene sedimentary and volcanic rocks on the eastern flank of the Cascade Range consist of five regional, unconformity-bounded formations of the Challis synthem. These formations define a series of northwesterly striking folds. Five anticlines are 9 to 28 km apart, have pre-Tertiary crystalline rocks in their cores, high-angle reverse faults on their steeper northeastern limbs, and pass down-plunge into more gentle folds in the Neogene Columbia River Basalt Group (CRBG). Such northwesterly trending folds extend from east of the Columbia River across the Cascade Range to the Puget Lowland.

The Chiwaukum graben and Swauk basin, which heretofore were thought to be local, extensional, depositional basins, are, instead, the major northwesterly trending synclines in this series of folds. The Eocene formations were preserved, not deposited, in these synclines. Dextral, N-S faults cut the reverse faults and the pre-CRBG portion of some of the folds. The post-CRBG folds control the regional distribution of the Eocene formations.

The Cascade Range is a southerly plunging, post-CRBG anticline. Clasts in the Thorp Gravel indicate that this anticline began to rise ca. 4 Ma. The anticline has an amplitude of ∼3.5 km, and it causes the plunges of the northwesterly striking post-CRBG folds. The northerly and northwesterly post-CRBG folds form a regional interference pattern, or “egg-crate,” that dominates the present topography of Washington State.

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