Analysis of the "slip budget" of the Las Vegas Valley shear zone, southern Nevada, leads to a model that explains many of the kinematic complexities that characterize transverse structures in continental extensional settings, including (1) abrupt terminations of these structures along strike, (2) large lateral translations across relatively short faults, (3) apparent lack of strike-slip offset or contradictory evidence of shear sense along some transverse structures, (4) significant variation in slip magnitude along strike, and (5) juxtaposition of differentially extended terranes on opposite sides of faults. Many major transverse structures may function largely as transfer faults that either link or form passive boundaries between differentially extended terranes.

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