Abstract

The high shoreline of the late Pleistocene (Sehoo) lake in the Lahontan basin is used as a passive strain marker to delineate the magnitude and character of regional deformation since 13 ka. The elevations of 170 high shoreline sites document that the once horizontal (equipotential) shoreline, which traverses almost 4° of latitude and 3° of longitude, is now deflected vertically about 22 m. Most of the deformation is attributed to isostatic rebound, but a small down-to-the-north regional tilting also appears to contribute to the overall deformation pattern. Active faults locally offset the high shoreline, but cannot explain the regional upwarping attributed to isostatic rebound since 13 ka. Preliminary models of the rebound yield an upper mantle viscosity of 1018 Pa s that implies a Maxwell relaxation time of about 300 yr. The rapid Earth response, coupled with the rapid fall in lake level at the end of Pleistocene time, may have acted to divert some of the major rivers flowing into the basin from one terminal subbasin to another. The regional deformation caused by the rebound may also have acted to control the present location of Honey Lake. These shoreline data, therefore, support the potential for a link between climate change, deep Earth processes, and surficial processes.

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