A Caltech Library Service

Evolution of extensional basins and basin and range topography west of Death Valley, California

Hodges, K. V. and McKenna, L. W. and Stock, J. and Knapp, J. and Page, L. and Sternlof, K. and Silverberg, D. and Wüst, G. and Walker, J. D. (1989) Evolution of extensional basins and basin and range topography west of Death Valley, California. Tectonics, 8 (3). pp. 453-467. ISSN 0278-7407. doi:10.1029/TC008i003p00453.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


Neogene extension in the Death Valley region, SE California, has produced a variety of sedimentary basins. Diachronous movements on an array of strike-slip and normal fault systems have resulted in the uplift and preservation of older basins in modern ranges. One of the best exposed of these is the Nova basin on the western flank of the Panamint Mountains. The Nova basin includes over 2000 m of sedimentary and volcanic rocks deposited during denudation of the Panamint Mountains metamorphic core complex in late Miocene (?) – early Pliocene time. The principal growth structure for the basin was the Emigrant detachment, which initiated and moved at a low angle. Modern Panamint Valley, west of the range, developed as a consequence of Late Pliocene - Recent, kinematically linked movement on the right-slip, high-angle Hunter Mountain fault zone and the low-angle Panamint Valley detachment. Detailed mapping of the intersection between the Emigrant and Panamint Valley detachments demonstrates that segments of the earlier system remained active during development of Panamint Valley and, thus, during development of modern Basin and Range topography as well. These results indicate that large-scale extension in the Death Valley region, accommodated by movement on low- to moderate-angle normal fault systems and high-angle strike-slip fault systems, is a continuing process. Basin and Range topography in the Panamint Valley - Death Valley area was generated at least in part by displacements on low-angle detachments rather than high-angle normal faults.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Hodges, K. V.0000-0003-2805-8899
Stock, J.0000-0003-4816-7865
Additional Information:© 1989 by the American Geophysical Union. Received 18 Aug 1988; revised December 27, 1988; accepted December 29, 1988. Paper number 890TC00015. We would like to thank Clark Burchfiel, Craig Jones, Peter Molnar, Zeke Snow, Bennie Troxel, Brian Wernicke, and Lauren Wright for sharing with us their thoughts about and data from the Death Valley area. B.M. Page, E.S. Schweig, and two anonymous reviewers made comments on an early form of this paper that drastically improved the present version. Robert Fleck of the U.S.G.S. kindly provided access to the geochronology lab at Menlo Park for K-Ar dating of samples. The National Park Service personnel at Death Valley National Monument and the Bureau of Land Management personnel responsible for the Panamint Valley conservation area have been most gracious hosts during our fieldwork. This research was undertaken as part of the 1986 and 1987 MIT geology field camps. Financial support was provided by the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at MIT, Chevron Oil Company, Shell Oil Company, and the National Science Foundation (EAR-8314161 and EAR-8512283).
Group:Seismological Laboratory, Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences
Funding AgencyGrant Number
MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary SciencesUNSPECIFIED
Chevron Oil CompanyUNSPECIFIED
Shell Oil CompanyUNSPECIFIED
NSFEAR- 8512283
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140905-142821870
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Hodges, K. V., L. W. McKenna, J. Stock, J. Knapp, L. Page, K. Sternlof, D. Silverberg, G. Wüst, and J. D. Walker (1989), Evolution of extensional basins and basin and range topography west of Death Valley, California, Tectonics, 8(3), 453–467, doi:10.1029/TC008i003p00453.
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:49300
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:05 Sep 2014 21:55
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 18:42

Repository Staff Only: item control page