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Proceedings of Conference on
Status of Geologic Research and Mapping,
Death Valley National Park

Janet L. Slate, Editor

U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Open-File Report 99-153

Denver, Colorado
1999

 

CONTENTS

PROLOGUE

1

H. Donald "The Kid" Curry, Death Valley’s First Ranger-Geologist (1908-1999)

spacer image Vincent L. Santucci and Torrey Nyborg

1

INTRODUCTION

2

DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

3

Posters:

Geologic highlights of Death Valley National Park

spacer image Michael N. Machette, Ren A. Thompson, and Mel Essington

3

Status of geologic mapping in Death Valley National Park–A database

spacer image A.S. Jayko, M. Essington, B. Heise, H.E. Johnson, P.W. McGrath, D.W. Prichett, G. Saucedo, R. Thompson, and D. Wagner

5

How to get a research permit from Death Valley National Park

spacer image Richard L. Anderson

6

National Park Service Geologic Resources Inventory

spacer image Joe Gregson and Bruce Heise

7

Inventorying paleontological resources at Death Valley National Park

spacer image Torrey G. Nyborg and Vincent L. Santucci

7

Accessing Death Valley National Park’s Museum Collection for geological and paleontological research

spacer image Blair Davenport

8

REGIONAL STRUCTURE, TECTONICS, AND BEDROCK GEOLOGY

10

Keynote speakers:

Tectonic evolution of the Death Valley region

spacer image Brian Wernicke

10

Tectonics of the southwestern Death Valley Region–A progress report

spacer image Terry L. Pavlis and Laura Serpa

18

Architecture and Miocene evolution of the northeast Death Valley detachment fault system, Nevada and California

spacer image Chris Fridrich

20

Posters:

Temporal, spatial, and compositional constraints on extension-related volcanism in central Death Valley, California

spacer image R.A. Thompson, L.A. Wright, C.M. Johnson, and R.J. Fleck

27

Fluid flow during metamorphism and deformation in the Panamint Mountains

spacer image Theodore C. Labotka

29

Preliminary results of detailed structural investigation and large-scale mapping in the southern Panamint Range, California

spacer image Joseph E. Andrew

31

Magnitude and timing of extreme continental extension, central Death Valley region, California

spacer image N.A. Niemi, B.P. Wernicke, R.J. Brady, J.B. Saleeby, and G.C. Dunne

33

Field and laboratory studies of fault rocks from detachment faults, western Black Mountains, Death Valley

spacer image D. Cowan, T. Cladouhos, N. Hayman, J. Morgan, and P. Vrolijk

36

Evidence for pre-55 Ma Phanerozoic fabrics in the Black Mountains, Death Valley, California

spacer image Martin G. Miller, Henry Turner, and Richard M. Friedman

37

Structural features of the Amargosa fault near Virgin Spring Canyon

spacer image Charles Rogers and Martin G. Miller

39

NEOGENE BASIN STRATIGRAPHY, GEOPHYSICS, AND HYDROLOGY

41

Keynote speakers:

Cenzoic basins of the central Death Valley region, eastern California

spacer image L.A. Wright

41

Looking beneath the surface, a three-dimensional geophysical view of the Death Valley region, California and Nevada

spacer image Richard J. Blakely, Robert L. Morin, and Claudia C. Faunt

47

The Death Valley Regional Ground-Water Flow System (DVRFS) model–Calibration versus hydrogeologic conceptual model testing

spacer image Frank A. D’Agnese and Claudia C. Faunt

52

Posters:

Stratigraphy:

Preliminary description of the subsurface geologic units in the Amargosa Desert

spacer image Emily M. Taylor, Christopher M. Menges, and Carma San Juan

55

Tectonostratigraphic relationship between the Cenozoic sedimentary successions of the southern Funeral Mountains, Furnace Creek Basin, Eagle Mountain, and the north end of the Resting Spring Range

spacer image Ibrahim Cemen

56

Geophysics:

Three-dimensional model of pre-Cenozoic basement beneath Amargosa Desert and Pahrump Valley, California and Nevada–Implications for tectonic evolution and water resources

spacer image R. L. Morin, R. J. Blakely, E.H. McKee, K. M. Schmidt, V. E. Langenheim, and G. L. Dixon

58

Hydrology:

Using geologic data for a three-dimensional hydrogeologic framework model of the Death Valley region

spacer image Claudia C. Faunt, Wayne R. Belcher, and Frank A. D’Agnese

59

Ground-water flow model of Amargosa Valley and Yucca Mountain Site revisited

spacer image Parviz Montazer and Nick Stellavato

60

Development of a hydrogeologic database and data analysis tool for the Death Valley regional ground-water flow model

spacer image Grady M. O’Brien, Matthew L. Jones, and Claudia C. Faunt

61

Correlations of lithostratigraphic features with hydrogeologic properties, a facies-based approach to model development in volcanic rocks at Yucca Mountain, Nevada

spacer image David C. Buesch and Richard W. Spengler

62

Using multivariate statistical analysis of ground-water major cation and trace-element concentrations to evaluate ground-water flow in south-central Nevada

spacer image I. M. Farnham, K. H. Johannesson, A. K. Singh, K. J. Stetzenbach, and X. Zhou

64

Rare earth elements in ground water and aquifer materials from southern Nevada and eastern California

spacer image Xiaoping Zhou, Kevin H. Johannesson, Klaus J. Stetzenbach, and Caixia Guo

Estimating evapotranspiration rates in Death Valley, California

spacer image Guy A. DeMeo, Randell J. Laczniak, and Walter E. Nylund

68

Ostracodes as indicators of present and past hydrology in Death Valley

spacer image Richard M. Forester

69

MAPPING IN THE DEATH VALLEY REGION

71

Posters:

Regional geologic maps of the Nevada Test Site and Death Valley ground-water flow system–The starting points for ground-water studies

spacer image P. D. Rowley, J. B. Workman, G. L. Dixon, J. L. Slate, K. S. Morgan, E.B. Ekren, D. A. Ponce, W. R. Page, M. A. Kuntz, and D. A. Trudeau

71

Geologic map of the Trona-Kingman 1:250,000 quadrangle, southeastern California

spacer image Eugene Y. Hsu and David L. Wagner

73

Tectonic-geologic map of the Death Valley region, California and Nevada

spacer image L.A. Wright, R.A. Thompson, and J.B. Workman

73

Regional hydrogeologic features from a new geologic map of the Yucca Mountain region

spacer image C.J. Potter and D.S. Sweetkind

75

Preliminary surficial geologic map of the Beatty 30 •60-minute quadrangle, Nevada-California

spacer image Janet L. Slate and Margaret E. Berry

78

Strategy for mapping Quaternary surficial deposits in support of the Death Valley regional flow model in California and Nevada

spacer image Christopher M. Menges, Emily M. Taylor, Janet L. Slate, and John C. Dohrenwend

81

Geology of the Saddle Peak Hills 7.5 quadrangle, southernmost Death Valley, California

spacer image Bennie W. Troxel

83

IMAGERY, QUATERNARY STRATIGRAPHY AND GEOMORPHOLOGY, AND QUATERNARY GEOCHRONOLOGY

85

Keynote speakers:

Thirty years of remote sensing in Death Valley–What have we learned?

spacer image Alan Gillespie

85

Quaternary stratigraphy and geomorphology of Death Valley

spacer image J.R. Knott

90

Quaternary dating methods–Applications to Death Valley studies

spacer image Marith Reheis

97

Posters:

Imagery:

Imaging radar applications in the Death Valley region

spacer image Tom G. Farr

104

Regional 1:100,000 mapping of Quaternary units from SPOT images and 30-m DEMs

spacer image A.S. Jayko and D.W. Prichett

106

Differential GPS/GIS analysis of the sliding rock phenomenon of Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park

spacer image Paula Messina and Phil Stoffer

107

Quaternary Stratigraphy and Geomorphology:

Quaternary geologic mapping and geochronology of the Las Vegas 1:100,000 sheet and Yucca Mountaain area–Geomorphic and hydrologic response to climate change near Death Valley

spacer image S.C. Lundstrom, J.B.Paces, S.A. Mahan, W.R. Page, and J.B. Workman

110

A soil survey of Death Valley National Park–New techniques in standard soil survey

spacer image Douglas J. Merkler, Leon Lato, and Peter Scull

111

Surficial geology and geomorphic process studies in support of multidisciplinary ecosystem investigations–Examples from parts of Greenwater and Valjean Valleys, Mojave Desert Ecosystem

spacer image David M. Miller and James C. Yount

113

Quaternary Geochronology:

Late Cenozoic tephrochronology of Death Valley, California–New insights into stratigraphy, paleogeography, and tectonics

spacer image J.R. Knott, A. M. Sarna-Wojcicki, R. E. Klinger, J. C. Tinsley, III, and B. W. Troxel

115

Chlorine-36 ages of pluvial shoreline features in the Death Valley/Panamint Valley area

spacer image Fred M. Phillips and Marek G. Zreda

117

Geochemistry of archeological obsidian sources in the Saline Range, Death Valley National Park,

California

spacer image Lynn Johnson, David L. Wagner, and Craig E. Skinner

118

PALEOCLIMATE AND ACTIVE TECTONICS

121

Keynote speakers:

Middle to late Quaternary environmental changes in Death Valley and vicinity

spacer image W. Geoffrey Spaulding

121

Latest Quaternary (<30 ka) lake high-stand fluctuations and evolving paleohydrology of Death Valley

spacer image Diana Anderson

124

Tectonic geomorphology along the Death Valley fault system–Evidence for recurrent late Quaternary activity in Death Valley National Park

spacer image Ralph E. Klinger

132

Posters:

Paleoclimate:

Lake Manly(?) shorelines in the eastern Mojave Desert, California

spacer image Roger LeB. Hooke

140

200-k.y. paleoclimate record from Core DV 93-1, Badwater Basin, Death Valley, California

spacer image Tim Lowenstein

142

Using event-based simulation of water budgets to study the hydroclimatology of lakes in

Death Valley, California

spacer image Larry Mayer

144

Eolian processes and deposits in the southwestern U.S.–Integrated studies to evaluate impacts from climatic variability and land use

spacer image U.S. Geological Survey and Desert Research Institute

146

Active Tectonics:

Scenario earthquakes along the Death Valley fault system

spacer image Craig M. dePolo and Ron H. Hess

148

GPS-determined constraints on interseismic deformation along active fault zones within the Death Valley region, southeastern California

spacer image Todd B. Williams, Daniel J. Johnson, M. Meghan Miller, and Timothy H. Dixon

149

Seismic potential of the Fish Lake Valley fault zone, Nevada and California

spacer image T.L. Sawyer and M.C. Reheis

150

Quaternary strike-slip components of the Death Valley fault between the Furnace Creek and southern Death Valley fault zones

spacer image D. Burton Slemmons and George E. Brogan

152

Using geomorphic features to constrain tectonic activity near Pahrump Valley, Nevada and California

spacer image K.M. Schmidt and J.G. Davidson

154

USGS geologic and seismic-hazard investigations of the Cow Creek area, Death Valley National Park

spacer image M. N. Machette, A. J. Crone, K. M. Haller, L. Bradley, C. Ninci Martinez, and G. D’Addezio

156

Late Quaternary flexural-slip folding and faulting in the Texas Spring syncline, Death Valley National Park

spacer image Ralph E. Klinger and Lucille A. Piety

159

Geology of the Stump Spring quadrangle–Evidence of late Quaternary transpression on the southern segment of the Pahrump Valley fault zone, Nevada and California

spacer image Matthew R. McMackin

162

Work in progress–A connection through the brittle crust between Death Valley and the Salton Basin

spacer image Robert O. Castle

163

FIELD TRIP GUIDE

165

Stop 1: Mormon Point/Willow Creek Fault Scarp
spacer image Terry L. Pavlis, Jeffrey R. Knott, Ralph E. Klinger, and Lucille A. Piety

165

Stop 2: Badwater
spacer image Tim Lowenstein, Diana E. Anderson, and Martin G. Miller

170

Stop 3: Zabriskie Point
spacer image Lauren A. Wright and Richard J. Blakely

171

Stop 4: Texas Spring Syncline/Echo Canyon Thrust
spacer image Ralph E. Klinger and Lucille A. Piety

172

Stop 5: Cow Creek Administrative Area
spacer image Michael N. Machette

174

 

Selected references for geology of Death Valley National Park and surrounding region

spacer image Compiled by Philadelphia J. Morrow and Michael N. Machette

 

FIGURES

1. Geologic mapping of the Wernicke research group

11

2. Map showing reconstruction of deformation, southern Great Basin region

13

3. Location map of the northeast Death Valley detachment fault system

21

4. Schematic cross sections, showing stages in the evolution of the detachment fault system

22

5. Maps showing areas of strong transtensional tectonism pattern, northeast Death Valley

24

6. Graph showing relation of fluid composition and temperature of metamorphism in samples from Wildrose Canyon

30

7. Graph showing istopic composition of calcite versus dolomite

30

8. Graph showing relation of metamorphic fluid versus temperature in samples from the Johnnie Formation

30

9. Map showing major ranges and basins in the Death Valley region

33

10. Columnar sections of middle and upper Miocene strata

34

11. Map showing probable original limits of the Eagle Mountain Formation

35

12. Photographs of deformed p 37

13. Photograph and field sketch of relations at deep structural levels

38

14. Schematic cross section to illustrate relation between pre-pegmatite and post-pegmatite fabrics

38

15. Simplified map of the Amargosa fault

39

16. Map showing generalized geology of the central Death Valley region

42

17. Sketches showing gravity inversion method

48

18. Diagram of lithostratigraphic and hydrogeologic units in the Prow Pass Tuff

63

19. Shaded relief map of the Yucca Mountain Region

76

20. Grid showing 7.5-minute quadrangles of the Beatty 30 •60-minute quadrangle

78

21. Map of Death Valley and surrounding region showing geographic features and fault systems

90

22. Correlation diagram for Pliocene tuffs of Death Valley

91

23. Correlation diagram for upper Pliocene to middle Pleistocene tuffs and tephra beds of Death Valley

93

24. Chart showing methods for dating Quaternary surficial deposits in the Death Valley area

98

25. Oblique USGS aerial image of the Racetrack

108

26. Large-scale detail of trails in the Racetrack’s central region

108

27. Photograph of two diverging sliding cobbles

108

28. Scatterplot based on XRF data showing Saline Valley glass types

119

29. Scatterplot showing correlation of artifacts manufactured from the "Saline Valley" and "Queen Imposter" glass type

120

30. Map showing pluvial lakes in basins of Owen, Mojave, and Amargosa Rivers

125

31. Longitudinal profile of coring sites

128

32. Composite diagram of 10—30-ka lacustrine chronologies for the Mojave River drainage basin

129

33. Generalized Quaternary fault map of Death Valley

133

34. Photograph of Cinder Hill, a basaltic cinder cone astride north end of the Southern Death Valley fault

134

35. Photograph of Willow Creek scarp

136

36. Aerial photograph of an alluvial fan north of Red Wall Canyon

138

37. Topographic profile from Shoreline Butte to Ash Hill

141

38. Sample-model run for Death Valley showing temperature-derived evaporation potential

144

39. Earthquake-rupture segmentation model of the Fish Lake Valley fault zone

151

40. Graph showing product of contributing drainage area and local slope versus valley width to valley height ratio

155

41. Photograph of the Cross Valley fault scarp north of the Hole-in-the-Wall road

159

42. Graph showing maximum vertical separation of alluvial surfaces along the Cross Valley fault

160

43. Schematic illustration showing essential elements involved with the postulated connection between Death Valley and the Salton Basin

163


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