Warm Spring Canyon is located in the southeastern part of the Panamint Range in east-central California, 54 km south of Death Valley National Park headquarters at Furnace Creek Ranch. For the relatively small size of the area mapped (57 km2), an unusual variety of Proterozoic and Phanerozoic rocks is present. The outcrop distribution of these rocks largely resulted from movement on the east-west-striking, south-directed Butte Valley Thrust Fault of Jurassic age. The upper plate of the thrust fault comprises a basement of Paleoproterozoic schist and gneiss overlain by a thick sequence of Mesoproterozoic and Neoproterozoic rocks, the latter of which includes diamictite generally considered to be of glacial origin. The lower plate is composed of Devonian to Permian marine formations overlain by Jurassic volcanic and sedimentary rocks. Late Jurassic or Early Cretaceous plutons intrude rocks of the area, and one pluton intrudes the Butte Valley Thrust Fault. Low-angle detachment faults of presumed Tertiary age underlie large masses of Neoproterozoic dolomite in parts of the area. Movement on these faults predated emplacement of middle Miocene volcanic rocks in deep, east-striking paleovalleys. Excellent exposures of all the rocks and structural features in the area result from sparse vegetation in the dry desert climate and from deep erosion along Warm Spring Canyon and its tributaries.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Geologic Map of the Warm Spring Canyon Area, Death Valley National Park, Inyo County, California, With a Discussion of the Regional Significance of the Stratigraphy and Structure
Scientific Investigations Map
Geological Survey (U.S.)
Western Earth Surface Processes
Map Sheet: 27 x 33 inches; Pamphlet: iv, 39 p.; Data Files