The shallow structure and subsurface lithology of southern Death Valley basin in eastern California were studied using refraction analysis of multichannel seismic reflection data acquired by COCORP. Two-dimensional velocity models of the upper 3 km of southern Death Valley were derived from iterative fitting of first-arrival travel-times on common-shot and common-receiver gathers. The structural basement beneath southern Death Valley, defined by rocks having velocities greater than 4.0 km/s, is asymmetric and dips gently to the east where it is terminated by a steeply dipping fault which parallels the Black Mountain range front and has normal, down-to-the-west displacement. Numerous other faults that have normal components of displacement obliquely cross the seismic lines and indicate that the southern Death Valley basin formed from the divergent wrench system of the southern Death Valley fault zone.

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