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Faulting on the Volcanic Tableland, Owens Valley, California

Nicholas Pinter
The Journal of Geology
Vol. 103, No. 1 (Jan., 1995), pp. 73-83
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30071137
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Faulting on the Volcanic Tableland, Owens Valley, California
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Abstract

The Volcanic Tableland, brittle surface of the 764,000 yr-old Bishop Tuff, documents extensive faulting in the northern Owens Valley, California, during the late Quaternary. The Tableland surface is cut by at least 226 fault scarps, with a total of 328 km of surface rupture. Scarps are lens-shaped rips in the surface of the Bishop Tuff, with vertical offsets of a few meters to 140 m and lengths up to several kilometers. The scarps have an average trend of N10°-20°W and dip steeply both to the east and west. The Tableland records at least 290 m of cross-valley extension in the last 764,000 yrs, at an average rate of at least 400 m/m.y., and a cumulative seismic moment of at least $2.8 \cdot 10^{28}$ dyne cm. The Volcanic Tableland lies astride what has been called the White Mountain seismic gap of the Eastern California-Central Nevada seismic zone. Seismic moment recorded on the Tableland can be used to estimate average recurrence interval of surface-rupturing earthquakes on the floor of the Owens Valley if a characteristic earthquake magnitude can be assumed. For example, a M = 7.2 event, typical of historical earthquakes on this seismic zone, suggests a recurrence interval of not more than 3000 yrs on faults within the Owens Valley. The distribution and the character of faulting on the Volcanic Tableland are consistent with flexural extension, accommodating westward tilting of the Sierra Nevada and eastward tilting of the Owens Valley and the White Mountains.

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