Paleomagnetic quantification of upper-plate deformation during Miocene detachment faulting in the Mohave Mountains, Arizona

Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems

, , and ORCID iD



Paleomagnetic data from Miocene (???20 Ma) volcanic rocks and dikes of west central Arizona reveal the tilt history of Proterozoic crystalline rocks in the hanging wall of the Chemehuevi-Whipple Mountains detachment fault. We obtained magnetization data from dikes and flows in two structural blocks encompassing Crossman Peak and Standard Wash in the Mohave Mountains. In the Crossman block the dike swarm records two components of primary magnetization: (1) CNH, a normal polarity, high-unblocking-temperature or high-coercivity component (inclination, I = 48.5??, declination, D = 6.4??), and (2) CRHm, a reversed polarity, high-temperature or high-coercivity component (I = -33.6??, D = 197.5??). Argon age spectra imply that the dikes have not been reheated above 300??C since their emplacement, and a baked-contact test suggests that the magnetization is likely to be Miocene in age. CRHm deviates from the expected direction of the Miocene axial dipole field and is best explained as a result of progressive tilting about the strike of the overlying andesite flows. These data suggest that the Crossman block was tilted 60?? to the southwest prior to intrusion of the vertical dike swarm, and the block continued to tilt during a magnetic field reversal to normal polarity (CNH). Miocene dikes in the Crossman block are roughly coplanar, so the younger dikes with normal polarity magnetization intruded along planes of weakness parallel to the earlier reversed polarity swarm. An alternative explanation involves CNH magnetization being acquired later during hydrothermal alteration associated with the final stages of dike emplacement. In the Standard Wash block, the primary component of magnetization is a dual-polarity, high-temperature or high-coercivity component (SWHl, I = 7.2??,D= 0.7??). To produce agreement between the expected Miocene magnetic direction and the SWH component requires (1) correcting for a 56?? tilt about the strike of flow bedding and (2) removing a counterclockwise vertical-axis rotation of 20??. The two rotations restore the Standard Wash dikes to vertical, make parallel the dike layering in the Crossman and Standard Wash blocks, and align the strikes of bedding in both blocks. Geologic mapping, geochemical evidence, and paleomagnetic data are consistent with the upper plate of the Mohave Mountains having tilted in response to formation of the underlying detachment fault.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Paleomagnetic quantification of upper-plate deformation during Miocene detachment faulting in the Mohave Mountains, Arizona
Series title:
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
Year Published:
Larger Work Type:
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems