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Published December 2004 | Published
Journal Article Open

BARGEN continuous GPS data across the eastern Basin and Range province, and implications for fault system dynamics


We collected data from a transect of continuous Global Positioning System (GPS) sites across the eastern Basin and Range province at latitude 39°N from 1997–2000. Intersite velocities define a region ~350 km wide of broadly distributed strain accumulation at ~10 nstr yr^(−1). On the western margin of the region, site EGAN, ~10 km north of Ely, Nevada, moved at a rate of 3.9 ± 0.2 mm yr^(−1) to the west relative to site CAST, which is on the Colorado Plateau. Velocities of most sites to the west of Ely moved at an average rate of ~3 mm yr^(−1) relative to CAST, defining an area across central Nevada that does not appear to be extending significantly. The late Quaternary geological velocity field, derived using seismic reflection and neotectonic data, indicates a maximum velocity of EGAN with respect to the Colorado Plateau of ~4 mm yr^(−1), also distributed relatively evenly across the region. The geodetic and late Quaternary geological velocity fields, therefore, are consistent, but strain release on the Sevier Desert detachment and the Wasatch fault appears to have been anomalously high in the Holocene. Previous models suggesting horizontal displacement rates in the eastern Basin and Range near 3 mm yr^(−1), which focused mainly along the Wasatch zone and Intermountain seismic belt, may overestimate the Holocene Wasatch rate by at least 50 per cent and the Quaternary rate by nearly an order of magnitude, while ignoring potentially major seismogenic faults further to the west.

Additional Information

© 2004 RAS. Accepted 2004 July 26. Received 2003 March 25; in original form 2001 February 23. Article first published online: 20 Oct. 2004. BARGEN research is funded by the National Science Foundation (grants EAR 97-25766, 99-03366 and 00-01209), the Yucca Mountain Project of the US Department of Energy, and the Solid Earth and Hazards Program of NASA. Support for this work was also provided by an NSF Graduate Fellowship (NAN). Network design and maintenance assistance is provided by the University NAVSTAR Consortium (UNAVCO) Facility in Boulder, Colorado, the University of Nevada, Reno, and the University of Utah. We thank Tim Dixon and John Oldow for productive comments on this manuscript.

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