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GEOREF RECORD

Structural evolution of central Death Valley, California, using new thermochronometry of the Badwater Turtleback

Travis Sizemore, Matthew M. Wielicki, Ibrahim Cemen, Daniel Stockli, Matthew Heizler and Delores Robinson
Structural evolution of central Death Valley, California, using new thermochronometry of the Badwater Turtleback
Lithosphere (April 2019) 11 (4): 436-447

Abstract

The Badwater turtleback, Copper Canyon turtleback, and Mormon Point turtleback are three anomalously smooth, approximately 2-km-high basement structures in the Black Mountains of Death Valley, California. Their structural evolution is linked to the Cenozoic tectonic history of the region. To explore their evolution, we apply (U-Th)/He, Ar/Ar, and U-Pb analyses, with multi-domain diffusion modeling to 10 samples from the Badwater turtleback. The cooling history of the Badwater turtleback is used as a proxy for its exhumation history as it uplifted from warmer depths. We find slow (<2 degrees C/m.y.) cooling from ca. 32 to 6 Ma, followed by rapid (120-140 degrees C/m.y.) cooling from ca. 6 to 4.5 Ma, and finally moderate (30-120 degrees C/m.y.) cooling occurred from ca. 4.5 Ma until the present. When these data are added to previously published cooling paths of the Copper Canyon turtleback and Mormon Point turtleback, a northwest cooling pattern is broadly evident, consistent with a top-to-NW removal of the hanging wall along a detachment fault. We propose a six-phase tectonic history. Post-orogenic collapse and erosion dominated from ca. 32 to 16 Ma. At 167 Ma, a detachment fault formed with a breakaway south and east of the Black Mountains, with normal faults in the hanging wall. Moderate extension continued from 14 to 8 Ma causing exhumation of the turtlebacks through the brittle-ductile transition. Dextral transtension at 7-6 Ma produced a pull-apart basin across the Black Mountains with rapid extension. The locus of deformation transferred to the Panamint and Owens Valley fault systems from 4.5 to 3.5 Ma, slowing extension in the Black Mountains until present.


ISSN: 1941-8264
EISSN: 1947-4253
Serial Title: Lithosphere
Serial Volume: 11
Serial Issue: 4
Title: Structural evolution of central Death Valley, California, using new thermochronometry of the Badwater Turtleback
Affiliation: University of Alabama, Department of Geological Sciences, Tuscaloosa, AL, United States
Pages: 436-447
Published: 20190425
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
References: 87
Accession Number: 2019-044664
Categories: Structural geology
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. 3 tables, geol. sketch maps
N35°00'00" - N37°00'00", W118°00'00" - W115°40'00"
Secondary Affiliation: University of Texas at Austin, USA, United StatesNew Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, USA, United States
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2019, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data from GeoScienceWorld, Alexandria, VA, United States. Reference includes data supplied by the Geological Society of America, Boulder, CO, United States
Update Code: 201923
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