Abstract

Geologic mapping in the Toiyabe Range in central Nevada has revealed the existence of normal faults of probable mid-Mississippian to Early Permian age that strike roughly east-west and dip northward. Additional evidence of uplift and erosion followed by mafic volcanism and subsidence suggests that much of the central and southern Toiyabe Range was affected by late Paleozoic extension. Similar patterns of late Paleozoic uplift and subsidence, together with local basaltic volcanism, are widespread in the western United States, suggesting that the continental margin was dominated by extension or transtension in Mississippian to Permian time. This extension was coeval with convergence between North America and South America across the Ouachita and Marathon belts, and the dynamic interaction of these two margins may, by analogy with the Cenozoic tectonics of Asia, have given rise to complex late Paleozoic deformation in the Ancestral Rocky Mountains and adjacent areas of the interior western United States.

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