K-Ar ages for 43 igneous and tuffaceous rocks of the Lake Mead region, Nevada-Arizona, are reasonably consistent with mapped stratigraphic and structural relations. They serve to establish age ranges for episodes of Miocene and Pliocene volcanism, plutonism, and tectonism in the region. The late Tertiary geology of the northwestern part of the region contrasts sharply with that of the southeastern part. The northwestern part was characterized by active sedimentation in local basins followed by intense disruption by normal and transcurrent faults. The southeastern part was characterized by brief episodes of overlapping volcanism, plutonism, extreme tensional rifting, followed by severe local uplift. Although diverse in style, the tectonism of the two areas appears to have been largely synchronous.
The synchronous character of the brief igneous and tectonic processes suggests strong genetic ties between them. The southeastern part of the region may be a volcanic rift zone that originated as a zone of tension near the end of a major transcurrent fault—the Las Vegas shear zone.