Seismic Reflection Imaging of the Low-Angle Panamint Normal Fault System, Eastern California

Ryan D. Gold, William J. Stephenson, Richard W. Briggs, Christopher B. DuRoss, Eric Kirby, Edward Woolery, Jaime Delano, Jack K. Odum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Shallowly dipping (<30°) low-angle normal faults (LANFs) have been documented globally; however, examples of active LANFs in continental settings are limited. The western margin of the Panamint Range in eastern California is defined by a LANF that dips west beneath Panamint Valley and has evidence of Quaternary motion. In addition, high-angle dextral-oblique normal faults displace middle to late Quaternary alluvial fans near the range front. To image shallow (<1 km depth), crosscutting relationships between the low- and high-angle faults along the range front, we acquired two high-resolution P wave seismic reflection profiles. The northern, 4.6-km-long profile crosses the 2-km-wide Wildrose graben and the southern, 0.8-km-long profile extends onto the Panamint Valley playa, ~7.5 km S of Ballarat, CA. The profile across the Wildrose graben reveals a robust, low-angle reflector interpreted to represent the LANF separating Plio-Pleistocene alluvial fanglomerate and Proterozoic metasedimentary deposits. High-angle faults interpreted in the seismic profile correspond to fault scarps on Quaternary alluvial fan surfaces. Interpretation of the reflection data suggests that the high-angle faults vertically displace the LANF up to 80 m within the Wildrose graben. Similarly, the profile south of Ballarat reveals a low-angle reflector, which appears both rotated and displaced up to 260 m by high-angle faults. These results suggest that near the Panamint range front, the high-angle faults are the dominant active structures. We conclude that at least at shallow (<1 km) depths, the LANF we imaged is not active today.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2020JB020243
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth
Volume125
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This manuscript benefitted from constructive reviews by Stephen and two anonymous JGR reviewers and Associate Editor Kristin Morell. Data acquisition was supported by Alena Leeds, Jim Allen, Dolan Paris, David Worley, Israporn Sethanant, Wesley von Dassow, and John Gosse. This work was conducted under permits issued by Death Valley National Park and the Bureau of Land Management Ridgecrest field office. Lidar data can be accessed from OpenTopography ( https://doi.org/10.5069/G9G44N6Q ). WorldView imagery accessed under NextView license (©DigitalGlobe 2020) at https://evwhs.digitalglobe.com/ website. National Agriculture Imagery Program imagery can be accessed from https://datagateway.nrcs.usda.gov/ website. Topography from the 10‐m National Elevation Dataset can be accessed from https://viewer.nationalmap.gov/advanced‐viewer/ website. Raw correlated shot records and source/receiver location information are available from Gold et al., 2020 ; https://doi.org/10.5066/P9YY18PF ). This work was supported by the U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Funding Information:
This manuscript benefitted from constructive reviews by Stephen and two anonymous JGR reviewers and Associate Editor Kristin Morell. Data acquisition was supported by Alena Leeds, Jim Allen, Dolan Paris, David Worley, Israporn Sethanant, Wesley von Dassow, and John Gosse. This work was conducted under permits issued by Death Valley National Park and the Bureau of Land Management Ridgecrest field office. Lidar data can be accessed from OpenTopography (https://doi.org/10.5069/G9G44N6Q). WorldView imagery accessed under NextView license (?DigitalGlobe 2020) at https://evwhs.digitalglobe.com/ website. National Agriculture Imagery Program imagery can be accessed from https://datagateway.nrcs.usda.gov/ website. Topography from the 10-m National Elevation Dataset can be accessed from https://viewer.nationalmap.gov/advanced-viewer/ website. Raw correlated shot records and source/receiver location information are available from Gold et al.,?2020; https://doi.org/10.5066/P9YY18PF). This work was supported by the U.S. Geological Survey Earthquake Hazards Program. Any use of trade, product, or firm names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Publisher Copyright:
Published 2020. This article is a U.S. Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.

Keywords

  • California
  • Panamint Valley
  • Panamint Valley fault zone
  • low-angle normal fault
  • seismic reflection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science

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