Analysis of diverse geologic, geophysical, and geochemical data shows that eight major lineament systems delineated in Landsat images of Nevada are morphological and tonal expressions of substantially broader structural zones. Southern Nevada is dominated by the 175 km-wide northwest-trending Walker Lane, a 150 km-wide zone of east-trending lineament systems consisting of the Pancake Range, Warm Springs, and Timpahute lineament systems, and a 125 km-wide belt of northeast-trending faults termed the Pahranagat lineament system.
Northern Nevada is dominated by the northeast-trending 75-200km wide Midas Trench lineament system, which is marked by northeasterly-oriented faults, broad gravity anomalies, and the Battle Mountain heat flow high; this feature appears to extend into central Montana. The Midas Trench system is transected by the Northern Nevada Rift, a relatively narrow zone of north-northwest-trending basaltic dikes that give rise to a series of prominent aeromagnetic highs. The northwest-trending Rye Patch lineament system, situated at the northeast boundary of the Walker Lane, also intersects the Midas Trench system and is characterized by stratigraphic discontinuities and alignment of aeromagnetic anomalies. Field relationships indicate that all the lineament systems except for the Northern Nevada Rift are conjugate shears formed since mid-Miocene time during extension of the Great Basin. Metallization associated with volcanism was widespread along these systems during the 17-6 m.y. period. However, these zones appear to have been established prior to this period, probably as early as Precambr-an time. These lineament systems are interpreted to be old, fundamental, structural zones that have been reactivated episodically as stress conditions !changed in the western United States. Many metal districts are localized within these zones as magma rose along the pre-existing conduits.