Abstract

The middle Paleozoic section in the west-central Inyo Mountains comprises two sequences: a Silurian to Middle Devonian calcareous sequence, which was extensively channeled in a submarine environment during Middle or Late Devonian time, and an Upper Devonian(?) to Mississippian predominantly clastic sequence. Distribution of facies in the lower calcareous units indicates a northwest-inclined paleoslope. The clastic sequence includes enormous quartzite and carbonate clasts that originated near the western North American shelf edge, and smaller chert and mudstone clasts formed during excavation of submarine canyons into slope deposits. Coarse clastic material was emplaced by submarine debris flows and turbidity currents moving down the northwestward-dipping paleoslope.

Middle Paleozoic conglomerate in the west-central Inyo Mountains has been interpreted as indicating the proximity of the Antler orogenic belt to the west. However, as the paleoslope dipped northwestward throughout middle Paleozoic time, and the conglomerate was derived from the North American shelf edge and slope to the southeast, the presence of this conglomerate must be dismissed as evidence for extension of the Antler orogenic belt into southeastern California.

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