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.
Additional Publication Details
Structural evolution of the east Sierra Valley system (Owens Valley and vicinity), California: a geologic and geophysical synthesis