Microseismicity, composite focal-mechanism solutions, and previously-published focal parameter data are used to determine the current tectonic activity of the prominent zone of seismicity in western Nevada and eastern California, termed the Nevada Seismic Zone. The microseismicity substantially agrees with the historic seismicity and delineates a narrow, major zone of activity that extends from Owens Valley, California, north past Dixie Valley, Nevada. Focal parameters indicate that a regional pattern of NW-SE tension exists for the western Basin and Range and is now producing crustal extension within the Nevada Seismic Zone.
An eastward shift of the seismic zone along the Excelsior Mountains and left-lateral strike-slip faulting determined from a composite focal mechanism indicate transform-type faulting between Mono Lake and Pilot Mountain.
Based on these results and other data, it is suggested that the Nevada Seismic Zone is caused by the interaction of a westward flow of mantle material beneath the Basin and Range Province with the boundary of the Sierra Nevada batholith.