Crustal extension along a rooted system of imbricate low-angle faults: Colorado River extensional corridor, California and Arizona

Geological Society Special Publication
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Abstract

The upper 10 to 15 km of crystalline crust in the 100-km-wide Colorado River extensional corridor of mid-Tertiary age underwent extension along an imbricate system of gently dipping normal faults. Detachment faults cut gently down-section eastward in the direction of tectonic transport from a headwall breakaway, best expressed in the Old Woman Mountains, California. Successively higher and more distal allochthons are displaced farther from the headwall, some as much as tens of kilometres. The basal fault(s) cut initially to depths of 10 to 15 km, the palaeothickness of a tilted allochthonous slab of basement rocks above the Chemehuevi-Whipple Mountains detachment fault(s). Hanging wall blocks tilt consistently toward the headwall as shown by dips of capping Tertiary strata and of originally horizontal Proterozoic diabase dykes. Block tilts and the degree of extension increase northeastward across much of the corridor. The faults are interpreted as rooting under the unbroken Hualapai Mountains and Colorado Plateau on the down-dip side of the corridor in Arizona. Slip on faults at all exposed levels of the crust was unidirectional, and totals an estimated 50 km. These data and inferences support the concept that the crust in California moved out from under Arizona along a rooted, normal-slip shear system. Brittle thinning above the sole faults affected the entire upper crust, and in places wholly removed it along the central part of the corridor. Upwarp exposed metamorphic core complexes in footwall domes.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Crustal extension along a rooted system of imbricate low-angle faults: Colorado River extensional corridor, California and Arizona
Series title Geological Society Special Publication
DOI 10.1144/GSL.SP.1987.028.01.19
Volume 28
Year Published 1987
Language English
Publisher Geological Society of London
Contributing office(s) Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
Description 13 p.
First page 299
Last page 311