A great volume of Mississippian orogenic deposits supports the concept of a mid-Paleozoic orogeny in Nevada, and the existence and timing of that event are not questioned here. The nature of the orogeny is problematic, however, and new ideas are called for. The cause of the Antler orogeny, long ascribed to plate convergence, is here attributed to left-lateral north-south strike-slip faulting in northwestern Nevada. The stratigraphic evidence originally provided in support of an associated regional thrust fault, the Roberts Mountains thrust, is now known to be invalid, and abundant, detailed map evidence testifies to post-Antler ages of virtually all large folds and thrust faults in the region. The Antler orogeny was not characterized by obduction of the Roberts Mountains allochthon; rocks composing the "allochthon" essentially were deposited in situ. Instead, the orogeny was characterized by appearance of an elongate north-northeast-trending uplift through central Nevada and by two parallel flanking depressions. The eastern depression was the Antler foreland trough, into which sediments flowed from both east and west in the Mississippian. The western depression was the Antler hinterland trough into which sediments also flowed from both east and west during the Mississippian. West of the hinterland trough, across a left-lateral strike-slip fault, an exotic landmass originally attached to the northwestern part of the North American continent was moved southward 1700 km along a strike-slip fault. An array of isolated blocks of shelf carbonate rocks, long thought to be autochthonous exposures in windows of the Roberts Mountains allochthon, is proposed here as an array of gravity-driven slide blocks dislodged from the shelf, probably initiated by the Late Devonian Alamo impact event.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
An alternative hypothesis for the mid-Paleozoic Antler orogeny in Nevada
U.S. Geological Survey
Central Energy Resources Science Center
iii, 11 p.
Roberts Mountains;Antler Highland;Hinterland Trough