Abstract

The 1954 Dixie Valley earthquake (M 6.9) in central Nevada produced about 3 m of total vertical displacement distributed across two principal fault zones along the east flank of the Stillwater Range. Most of the 1954 displacement was along the range-front fault with minor amounts on the piedmont fault zone, in contrast to an earlier Holocene displacement that was restricted to the piedmont fault. Detailed chronostratigraphic, exploratory drilling, and trenching studies indicate that faulting events have migrated back and forth between the range-front and piedmont fault zones in the late Quaternary. Prior to the 1954 earthquake, the range-front fault last ruptured in the late Pleistocene, during a large-magnitude event here called the IXL event. The northern half of the piedmont fault zone last ruptured between 1.5 and 6.8 ka during a large-magnitude event here called the Bend event. On the basis of 6 m total slip since the deposition of shoreline gravels at ∼12 ka, the estimated Holocene vertical-slip rate is 0.5 mm/yr for the Dixie Valley rupture zone. Overlapping and migratory patterns of late Quaternary faulting indicate that the Dixie Valley zone does not fit a simple segmentation model.

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