Abstract

From gravity and limited seismic data obtained in 1957, Pakiser and others (1960) reported a thickness of Cenozoic deposits in the deepest part of Mono Basin, California, of 5.5 ± 1.5 km. Later, in 1962, from a series of chemical explosions in the westernmost part of Mono Basin and outside the limits of the main depressed structure, the thickness of Cenozoic deposits was estimated to be 1.6 km. In 1966, a series of ten 1-ton chemical explosions was detonated in Mono Lake near the deepest part of the Mono Basin structure for the purpose of studying the relative effectiveness of different types of explosives in generating seismic energy. Seismic waves recorded at distances 25.0 to 92.3 km from the explosions were delayed by 1.43 seconds (referred to a shot on bedrock) as they descended through the low-velocity Cenozoic deposits of Mono Basin. By using the velocities of Cenozoic deposits as determined during the 1957 field season, the thickness of Cenozoic deposits required to account for the 1.43-second delay determined in 1966 has been estimated to be about 5 ± 1 km. The delay of seismic waves emerging in Long Valley was less than expected, indicating that they were propagated into Long Valley mainly through high-velocity rocks. From the rate of deposition of Cenozoic rocks in Mono Basin based on the age and depth of burial of the Bishop Tuff, it was estimated that Mono Basin began to subside in early or middle Pliocene time.

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