Ph.D. Dissertation Defense—August 10: Chad W. Carlson (Advisor Jim Faulds)

Ph.D. Dissertation DefenseAugust 10: Chad W. Carlson (Advisor Jim Faulds)

A Message from Marie Russell (Department of Geological Sciences and Engineering): “You are invited to attend PhD candidate Chad Carlson’s dissertation defense on Thursday, August 10, 2017.  The Defense will be held in DMS 105, at 2:00 PM.”

Kinematics and Transfer Mechanisms of Strain Accommodation at the Transition between the Northern and Central Walker Lane, Western Nevada
Dissertation Author: Chad Carlson

The Walker Lane is a relatively young and developing tectonic intraplate boundary, where ~20% of the dextral motion between the Pacific and North American plates is accommodated. Paralleling the more discrete, well-developed, and through-going San Andreas fault system to the west, the Walker Lane consists of discontinuous structural domains characterized by systems of dextral, sinistral, and normal faults. The manner in which some these disparate fault systems accommodate and transfer dextral strain remain enigmatic and are relatively understudied. Also, it has been suggested that the Walker Lane will eventually mature and take over as the principal tectonic boundary between the Pacific and North American plates in the future. As such, the Walker Lane provides a natural laboratory to examine the early development of a major tectonic plate boundary.

At the transition between the central and northern Walker Lane, all three characteristic types of Walker Lane structural domains reside, share boundaries, and have been documented to accommodate regional dextral shear. In the central Walker Lane (Walker Lake structural domain), northwest-striking dextral faults accommodate northwest translation of crustal blocks. Northwest of these dextral faults, east-northeast-striking sinistral faults and oroclinal flexure in the southern part of the northern Walker Lane (Carson structural domain) accommodate clockwise, vertical-axis rotation of sinistral fault-bounded blocks. A region of northerly-striking normal faults and asymmetric basins resides west of the central Walker Lane and south of the northern Walker Lane, where geodetic studies define northwest-directed dextral strain devoid of major strike-slip fault systems. Combined, these regions act in concert to accommodate dextral shear at the latitudes of the central-northern Walker Lane transition. The purpose of this research was to elucidate the kinematics and transfer mechanisms of regional dextral shear accommodation among and between disparate styles of deformation. To accomplish this, geologic mapping of key regions and paleomagnetic study of Tertiary volcanic rocks were conducted.

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