The locations of principal faults and structural zones that may influence ground-water flow were compiled in support of a three-dimensional ground-water model for the Death Valley regional flow system (DVRFS), which covers 80,000 square km in southwestern Nevada and southeastern California. Faults include Neogene extensional and strike-slip faults and pre-Tertiary thrust faults. Emphasis was given to characteristics of faults and deformed zones that may have a high potential for influencing hydraulic conductivity. These include: (1) faulting that results in the juxtaposition of stratigraphic units with contrasting hydrologic properties, which may cause ground-water discharge and other perturbations in the flow system; (2) special physical characteristics of the fault zones, such as brecciation and fracturing, that may cause specific parts of the zone to act either as conduits or as barriers to fluid flow; (3) the presence of a variety of lithologies whose physical and deformational characteristics may serve to impede or enhance flow in fault zones; (4) orientation of a fault with respect to the present-day stress field, possibly influencing hydraulic conductivity along the fault zone; and (5) faults that have been active in late Pleistocene or Holocene time and areas of contemporary seismicity, which may be associated with enhanced permeabilities.
The faults shown on maps A and B are largely from Workman and others (in press), and fit one or more of the following criteria: (1) faults that are more than 10 km in map length; (2) faults with more than 500 m of displacement; and (3) faults in sets that define a significant structural fabric that characterizes a particular domain of the DVRFS. The following fault types are shown: Neogene normal, Neogene strike-slip, Neogene low-angle normal, pre-Tertiary thrust, and structural boundaries of Miocene calderas. We have highlighted faults that have late Pleistocene to Holocene displacement (Piety, 1996). Areas of thick Neogene basin-fill deposits (thicknesses 1-2 km, 2-3 km, and >3 km) are shown on map A, based on gravity anomalies and depth-to-basement modeling by Blakely and others (1999). We have interpreted the positions of faults in the subsurface, generally following the interpretations of Blakely and others (1999). Where geophysical constraints are not present, the faults beneath late Tertiary and Quaternary cover have been extended based on geologic reasoning. Nearly all of these concealed faults are shown with continuous solid lines on maps A and B, in order to provide continuous structures for incorporation into the hydrogeologic framework model (HFM). Map A also shows the potentiometric surface, regional springs (25-35 degrees Celsius, D'Agnese and others, 1997), and cold springs (Turner and others, 1996).
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Hydrostructural maps of the Death Valley regional flow system, Nevada and California