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Eocene activity on the Western Sierra Fault System and its role incising Kings Canyon, California

Sousa, Francis J. and Farley, Kenneth A. and Saleeby, Jason and Clark, Marin (2016) Eocene activity on the Western Sierra Fault System and its role incising Kings Canyon, California. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 439 . pp. 29-38. ISSN 0012-821X. doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2016.01.020.

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Combining new and published apatite (U–Th)/He and apatite ^4He/^3He data from along the Kings River canyon, California we rediscover a west-down normal fault on the western slope of the southern Sierra Nevada, one of a series of scarps initially described by Hake (1928) which we call the Western Sierra Fault System. Integrating field observations with apatite (U–Th)/He data, we infer a single fault trace 30 km long, and constrain the vertical offset across this fault to be roughly a kilometer. Thermal modeling of apatite ^4He/^3He data documents a pulse of footwall cooling near the fault and upstream in the footwall at circa 45–40 Ma, which we infer to be the timing of a kilometer-scale incision pulse resulting from the fault activity. In the context of published data from the subsurface of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, our data from the Western Sierra Fault System suggests an Eocene tectonic regime dominated by low-to-moderate magnitude extension, surface uplift, and internal structural deformation of the southern Sierra Nevada and proximal Great Valley forearc.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Sousa, Francis J.0000-0003-1623-4023
Farley, Kenneth A.0000-0002-7846-7546
Clark, Marin0000-0002-6141-8422
Additional Information:© 2016 Elsevier B.V. Received 3 November 2015, Revised 16 January 2016, Accepted 18 January 2016, Available online 1 February 2016. We thank Kerry Gallagher for assistance with setting up QTQt runs, Lindsey Hedges for the help with sample preparation, and David Shuster and an anonymous reviewer for helpful comments. This work was supported by National Science Foundation Grant EAR-0408526 to KAF.
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Subject Keywords:apatite 4He/3He thermochronometry; Sierra Nevada tectonics; Kings River canyon incision; Bayesian Monte Carlo Markov Chain modeling
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160208-135123236
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Official Citation:Francis J. Sousa, Kenneth A. Farley, Jason Saleeby, Marin Clark, Eocene activity on the Western Sierra Fault System and its role incising Kings Canyon, California, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Volume 439, 1 April 2016, Pages 29-38, ISSN 0012-821X, (
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:64305
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Feb 2016 22:04
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 23:29

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