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Geosciences 2013, 3(2), 176-215; doi:10.3390/geosciences3020176

Structural Evolution of the East Sierra Valley System (Owens Valley and Vicinity), California: A Geologic and Geophysical Synthesis

1
Department of Geology, San Jose State University, 1 Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192, USA
2
Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 February 2013 / Revised: 30 March 2013 / Accepted: 30 March 2013 / Published: 22 April 2013
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Abstract

The tectonically active East Sierra Valley System (ESVS), which comprises the westernmost part of the Walker Lane-Eastern California Shear Zone, marks the boundary between the highly extended Basin and Range Province and the largely coherent Sierra Nevada-Great Valley microplate (SN-GVm), which is moving relatively NW. The recent history of the ESVS is characterized by oblique extension partitioned between NNW-striking normal and strike-slip faults oriented at an angle to the more northwesterly relative motion of the SN-GVm. Spatially variable extension and right-lateral shear have resulted in a longitudinally segmented valley system composed of diverse geomorphic and structural elements, including a discontinuous series of deep basins detected through analysis of isostatic gravity anomalies. Extension in the ESVS probably began in the middle Miocene in response to initial westward movement of the SN-GVm relative to the Colorado Plateau. At ca. 3–3.5 Ma, the SN-GVm became structurally separated from blocks directly to the east, resulting in significant basin-forming deformation in the ESVS. We propose a structural model that links high-angle normal faulting in the ESVS with coeval low-angle detachment faulting in adjacent areas to the east. View Full-Text
Keywords: Sierra Nevada; White-Inyo Mountains; Coso Range; Indian Wells Valley; Basin and Range; Walker Lane; Eastern California Shear Zone; Panamint Detachment Sierra Nevada; White-Inyo Mountains; Coso Range; Indian Wells Valley; Basin and Range; Walker Lane; Eastern California Shear Zone; Panamint Detachment
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Stevens, C.H.; Stone, P.; Blakely, R.J. Structural Evolution of the East Sierra Valley System (Owens Valley and Vicinity), California: A Geologic and Geophysical Synthesis. Geosciences 2013, 3, 176-215.

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