Combined evidence from gravity, radiogenic isotope, and magnetotelluric (MT) data indicates a crustal fault zone that coincides with the northwest-trending Battle Mountain-Eureka (BME) mineral trend in north-central Nevada, USA. The BME crustal fault zone likely originated during Neoproterozoic-Early Paleozoic rifting of the continent and had a large influence on subsequent tectonic events, such as emplacement of allochthons and episodic deformation, magmatism, and mineralization throughout the Phanerozoic. MT models show the fault zone is about 10 km wide, 130-km long, and extends from 1 to 5 km below the surface to deep crustal levels. Isotope data and gravity models imply the fault zone separates crust of fundamentally different character. Geophysical evidence for such a long-lived structure, likely inherited from continental breakup, defies conventional wisdom that structures this old have been destroyed by Cenozoic extensional processes. Moreover, the coincidence with the alignment of mineral deposits supports the assertion by many economic geologists that these alignments are indicators of buried regional structures.
Additional publication details
Evidence for a Battle Mountain-Eureka crustal fault zone, north-central Nevada, and its relation to Neoproterozoic-Early Paleozoic continental breakup