Abstract

The Long Valley region of eastern California (United States) is the site of abundant late Tertiary–present magmatism, including three geochemically distinct stages of magmatism since ca. 3 Ma: Mammoth Mountain, the Mono-Inyo volcanic chain, and Long Valley Caldera. We propose two tectonic models, one explaining the Mammoth Mountain–Mono-Inyo magmatism and the other explaining the presence of Long Valley Caldera. First, the ongoing Mammoth Mountain–Mono-Inyo volcanic chain magmatism is explained by a ridge-transform-ridge system, with the Mono-Inyo volcanic chain acting as one ridge segment and the South Moat fault acting as a transform fault. Implicit in this first model is that this region of eastern California is beginning to act as an incipient plate boundary. Second, the older Long Valley Caldera system is hypothesized to occur in a region of enhanced extension resulting from regional fault block rotation, specifically involving activation of the sinistral faults of the Mina deflection. The tectonic models are consistent with observed spatial and temporal differences in the geochemistry of the regional magmas, and the westward progression of magmatism since ca. 12 Ma.

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