Abstract

Vertical-axis, clockwise block rotations in the Northeast Mojave block are well documented by numerous authors. However, the effects of these rotations on the crust to the north of the Northeast Mojave block have remained unexplored. In this paper we present a model that results from mapping and geochronology conducted in the north and central Owlshead Mountains. The model suggests that some or all of the transtension and rotation observed in the Owlshead Mountains results from tectonic response to a combination of clockwise block rotation in the Northeast Mojave block and Basin and Range extension. The Owlshead Mountains are effectively an accommodation zone that buffers differential extension between the Northeast Mojave block and the Basin and Range. In addition, our model explores the complex interactions that occur between faults and fault blocks at the junction of the Garlock, Brown Mountain, and Owl Lake faults. We hypothesize that the bending of the Garlock fault by rotation of the Northeast Mojave block resulted in a misorientation of the Garlock that forced the Owl Lake fault to break in order to accommodate slip on the western Garlock fault. Subsequent sinistral slip on the Owl Lake fault offset the Garlock, creating the now possibly inactive Mule Springs strand of the Garlock fault. Dextral slip on the Brown Mountain fault then locked the Owl Lake fault, forcing the active Leach Lake strand of the Garlock fault to break.

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