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Abstract

The eastern California shear zone is an important component of the Pacific–North America plate boundary. This region of active, predominantly strike-slip, deformation east of the San Andreas fault extends from the southern Mojave Desert along the east side of the Sierra Nevada and into western Nevada. The eastern California shear zone is thought to accommodate nearly a quarter of relative plate motion between the Pacific and North America plates. Recent studies in the region, utilizing innovative methods ranging from cosmogenic nuclide geochronology, airborne laser swath mapping, and ground penetrating radar to geologic mapping, geochemistry, and U-Pb, 40Ar/39Ar, and (U-Th)/He geochronology, are helping elucidate slip rate and displacement histories for many of the major structures that comprise the eastern California shear zone. This field trip includes twelve stops along the Lenwood, Garlock, Owens Valley, and Fish Lake Valley faults, which are some of the primary focus areas for new research. Trip participants will explore a rich record of the spatial and temporal evolution of the eastern California shear zone from 83 Ma to the late Holocene through observations of offset alluvial deposits, lava flows, key stratigraphic markers, and igneous intrusions, all of which are deformed as a result of recurring seismic activity. Discussion will focus on the constancy (or non-constancy) of strain accumulation and release, the function of the Garlock fault in accommodating deformation in the region, total cumulative displacement and timing of offset on faults, the various techniques used to determine fault displacements and slip rates, and the role of the eastern California shear zone as a nascent segment of the Pacific–North America plate boundary.

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