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Department or Administrative Unit

Geological Sciences

Publication Date



New geologic mapping, tectonic geomorphologic, 10Be terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide, and (U-Th)/He zircon and apatite thermochronometric data provide the first numerical constraints on late Cretaceous to late Quaternary exhumation of the Inyo Mountains and vertical slip and horizontal extension rates across the eastern Inyo fault zone, California. The east-dipping eastern Inyo fault zone bounds the eastern flank of the Inyo Mountains, a prominent geomorphic feature within the western Basin and Range Province and eastern California shear zone. (U-Th)/He zircon and apatite thermochronometry yield age patterns across the range that are interpreted as indicating: (1) two episodes of moderate to rapid exhumation associated with Laramide deformation during the late Cretaceous/early Tertiary; (2) development of a slowly eroding surface during a prolonged period from early Eocene to middle Miocene; (3) rapid cooling, exhumation, and initiation of normal slip along the eastern Inyo fault zone, accommodated by westward tilting of the Inyo Mountains block, at 15.6 Ma; and (4) rapid cooling, exhumation, and renewed normal slip along the eastern Inyo fault zone at 2.8 Ma. Fault slip continues today as indicated by fault scarps that cut late Pleistocene alluvial fan surfaces. The second episode of normal slip at 2.8 Ma also signals onset of dextral slip along the Hunter Mountain fault, yielding a Pliocene dextral slip rate of 3.3 ± 1.0 mm/a, where a is years. Summing this dextral slip rate with estimated dextral slip rates along the Owens Valley, Death Valley, and Stateline faults yields a net geologic dextral slip rate across the eastern California shear zone of 9.3 + 2.2/–1.4 to 9.8 + 1.4/–1.0 mm/a.


This article was originally published in Tectonics. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.




© 2008 Geological Society of America