Extensional faulting in the southern Klamath Mountains, California

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Large northeast striking normal faults in the southern Klamath Mountains may indicate that substantial crustal extension occurred during Tertiary time. Some of these faults form grabens in the Jurassic and older bedrock of the province. The grabens contain continental Oligocene or Miocene deposits (Weaverville Formation), and in two of them the Oligocene or Miocene is underlain by Lower Cretaceous marine formations (Great Valley sequence). At the La Grange gold placer mine the Oligocene or Miocene strata dip northwest into the gently southeast dipping mylonitic footwall surface of the La Grange fault. The large normal displacement required by the relations at the La Grange mine is also suggested by omission of several kilometers of structural thickness of bedrock units across the northeast continuation of the La Grange fault, as well as by significant changes in bedrock across some northeast striking faults elsewhere in the Central Metamorphic and Eastern Klamath belts. The Trinity ultramafic sheet crops out in the Eastern Klamath terrane as part of a broad northeast trending arch that may be structurally analogous to the domed lower plate of metamorphic core complexes found in eastern parts of the Cordillera. The northeast continuation of the La Grange fault bounds the southeastern side of the Trinity arch in the Eastern Klamath terrane and locally cuts out substantial lower parts of adjacent Paleozoic strata of the Redding section. Faults bounding the northwestem side of the Trinity arch generally trend northeast and juxtapose stacked thrust sheets of lower Paleozoic strata of the Yreka terrane against the Trinity ultramafic sheet. Geometric relations suggest that the Tertiary extension of the southern Klamath Mountains was in NW-SE directions and that the Redding section and the southern part of the Central Metamorphic terrane may be a large Tertiary allochthon detached from the Trinity ultramafic sheet. Paleomagnetic data indicate a lack of rotation about a vertical axis during the extension. We propose that the Trinity ultramafic sheet is structurally analogous to a metamorphic core complex; if so, it is the first core complex to be described that involves ultramafic rocks. We infer that Mesozoic terrane accretion produced a large gravitational instability in the crust that spread laterally during Tertiary extension

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Extensional faulting in the southern Klamath Mountains, California
Series title Tectonics
DOI 10.1029/TC008i001p00135
Volume 8
Issue 1
Year Published 1989
Language English
Publisher American Geophysical Union
Contributing office(s) Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
Description 15 p.
First page 135
Last page 149
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Klamath Mountains
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