Crustal extension in the Bullfrog Hills and Bare Mountain area of southwest Nevada is associated with movement along a regional detachment fault. Normal faulting in the upper plate and rapid cooling (denudation) of the lower plate were coeval with Miocene silicic volcanism and with west-northwest transport along the detachment fault. A west-northwest progression of tilting along upper plate normal faults is indicated by ages of the volcanic rocks in relation to angular unconformities. Near the breakaway, tilting in the upper plate occurred between 12.7 and 11.6 Ma, continued less strongly past 10.7 Ma, and was over by 8.2 Ma. Ten to 20 km west of the breakaway, tilting occurred between 10.7 and 10.33 Ma, continued less strongly after 10.33 Ma, and was over by 8.1 Ma. The cooling histories of the lower plate metamorphic rocks were determined by thermochronologic dating methods: K-Ar and 40Ar/39Ar on muscovite, biotite, and hornblende, 40Ar/39Ar on K-feldspar, U-Pb on apatite, zircon, and sphene, and fission track on apatite, zircon, and sphene. Lower plate rocks 10 km west of the breakaway cooled slowly from Early Cretaceous lower-amphibolite facies conditions through 350??50?? to 300??50??C between 57 and 38 Ma, then cooled rapidly from 205??50?? to 120??50??C between 12.6??1.6 and 11.1??1.9 Ma. Lower plate rocks 20 km west of the breakaway cooled slowly from Early Cretaceous upper-amphibolite facies conditions through 500??50??C at 78-67 Ma, passed through 350??50?? to 300??50??C between 16.3??0.4 and 10.5??0.3 Ma, then cooled rapidly from 285??50?? to 120??50??C between 10.2 and 8.6 Ma. Upper plate tilting and rapid cooling (denudation) of the lower plate occurred simultaneously in the respective areas. The early slow-cooling part of the lower plate thermal histories was probably related to erosion at the Earth's surface, which stripped off about 9 km of material in 50 to 100 m.y. The results indicate an initial fault dip ???30?? and a 12 mm yr-1 west-northwest migration of the locus of rapid tilting in the upper plate. Copyright 1997 by the American Geophysical Union.
Additional publication details
Timing of detachment faulting in the Bullfrog Hills and Bare Mountain area, southwest Nevada: Inferences from40Ar/39Ar, K-Ar, U-Pb, and fission track thermochronology