Paleomagnetism of Miocene Volcanic Rocks in the Mojave Region of Southeastern California
AuthorActon, Gary Dean
KeywordsPaleomagnetism -- California -- Mojave Region
Igneous rocks -- California -- Mojave Region
Rocks -- California -- Mojave Region -- Magnetic properties
Plate tectonics -- California -- Mojave Region
Committee ChairButler, Robert F.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractPaleomagnetic data were collected from Miocene volcanic rocks in the Turtle Mountains, Clipper Mountain, Colton Hills, and Piute Range of the southern Basin and Range (SBR) province in southeastern California as well as in the Soledad Mountains of the Mojave block in southern California. The data from these two tectonic provinces yield significantly different paleomagnetic directions, which probably indicates the existence of a major crustal and /or lithospheric discontinuity in the area between the Barstow Basin and the Clipper Mountain. Comparing the mean direction from the SBR data to the Miocene expected direction indicates no statistically significant rotation (R = -0.2° ± 18.2°) or flattening (F = -6.5° ± 9.2°). A similar comparison for the Soledad Mountain data, which were combined with data of Burke et al. (1982) from the Barstow Basin, yields a significant rotation of -43.5° ± 12.9° and flattening of 19.3° ± 10.6° for the Mojave block. These Mojave block values may be exaggerated a few degrees due to inadequate averaging of secular variation and possible improper structural corrections.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Degree GrantorUniversity of Arizona
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Paleomagnetism of Miocene volcanic rocks in the Mojave-Sonora desert region, Arizona and California.Butler, Robert F.; Calderone, Gary Jude.; Richardson, Randall M.; Reynolds, Steve; Chase, Clement; Wallace, Terry (The University of Arizona., 1988)Paleomagnetic directions have been obtained from 190 Middle Miocene (12-20 Ma) mafic volcanic flows in 16 mountain ranges in the Mojave-Sonora desert region of western Arizona and southeastern California. These flows generally postdate Early Miocene tectonic deformation accommodated by low-angle normal faults but predate high-angle normal faulting in the region. After detailed magnetic cleaning experiments, 179 flows yielded characteristic thermal remanent magnetism (TRM) directions. Because of the episodic nature of basaltic volcanism in this region, the 179 flows yield only 65 time-distinct virtual geomagnetic poles (VGPs). The angular dispersion of the VGPs is consistent with the angular dispersion expected for a data set that has adequately averaged geomagnetic secular variation. The paleomagnetic pole calculated from the 65 cooling unit VGPs is located at 85.5°N, 108.9°E within a 4.4° circle of 95% confidence. This pole is statistically indistinguishable (at 95% confidence) from reference poles calculated from similar-age rocks in stable North America and from a paleomagnetic pole calculated from similar-age rocks in Baja and southern California. From the coincidence of paleomagnetic poles from the Mojave-Sonora and adjacent areas, we can conclude that: (1) vertical-axis tectonic rotations have not accompanied high-angle normal faulting in this region; (2) there has been no latitudinal transport of the region since 12-20 Ma; and (3) long-term nondipole components of the Miocene geomagnetic field probably were no larger than those of the recent (0-5 Ma) geomagnetic field. In contrast, paleomagnetic data of other workers indicate vertical-axis rotations of similar-age rocks in the Transverse Ranges, the Eastern Transverse Ranges, and the Mojave Block. We speculate that a major discontinuity in the vicinity of the southeastward projection of the Death Valley Fault Zone separates western areas affected by vertical-axis rotations from eastern areas that have not experienced such rotations.
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