NBMG Research Featured in Wired Magazine

An article in WIRED magazine recently released describes cutting-edge research by Jim Faulds, Bill Hammond, and Rich Koehler (Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology) on fault systems in the Walker Lane and how this region could one day become the primary boundary between the Pacific and North American plates.

Read the story here—or listen to the audio version (following the third paragraph in the full article):

Move Over, San Andreas: There’s an Ominous New Fault in Town

by Geoff Manaugh (WIRED, Science, 4-18-19, 6:00 AM)

https://www.wired.com/story/walker-lane-move-over-san-andreas-fault/?mbid=email_onsiteshare

“U.S. Route 395 is a geologic master class disguised as a road. It runs north from the arid outskirts of Los Angeles, carrying travelers up to Reno along the eastern flank of the Sierra Nevada. On the way, they pass the black cinder cones of Coso Volcanic Field and the eroded scars of a mighty 19th-century earthquake near Lone Pine. In winter, drivers might see steam rising from Hot Creek, where water boils up from an active supervolcano deep underground. About an hour from the Nevada border, Mono Lake appears, with its bulbous and surreal mineral formations known as tufa towers. Even for someone with no particular interest in rocks, these are captivating, otherworldly sights. But for James Faulds, Nevada’s state geologist, they are something more—clues to a great tectonic mystery unfolding in the American West. If he’s right, all of this, from the wastes of the Mojave Desert to the night-lit casinos of Reno, will someday be beachfront property.” (Click on link above for complete story.)

New Geologic Maps in Northern Nevada: Mount Rose NW and Herder Creek Quadrangles

 

mrnw

Preliminary Geologic Map of the South Half of the Mount Rose NW Quadrangle, Washoe County, Nevada

 Authors: Nicholas H. Hinz and Alan R. Ramelli
Year: 2016
Series: Open-File Report 16-6
Format: plate: 35 x 29 inches, color; text: 3 pages, b/w
Scale: 1:24,000
View/Download/Buy: http://pubs.nbmg.unr.edu/Geol-south-half-Mount-Rose-NW-p/of2016-06.htm

This quadrangle straddles the north end of the Carson Range directly west-southwest of Reno and abuts the Nevada-California border. The Truckee River and Interstate 80 transect the northwest quarter of this quadrangle. This quadrangle also encompasses part of the rural community along Thomas Creek in the southeast quarter, and segments of the Steamboat irrigation ditch and part of the City of Reno urban area fall within the northeast corner.

The bedrock exposures in the quadrangle consist of Mesozoic granitic basement and Tertiary volcanic and sedimentary rocks. The Tertiary section includes a complex section of lavas, intrusions, and volcanic sedimentary rocks. Many of these volcanic and sedimentary rocks were derived from a ~6-7 Ma ancestral Cascades volcanic center in the Mount Rose quadrangle, directly south of this quadrangle. Plio-Pleistocene basaltic andesite lavas and rhyolite domes locally rest on the late Miocene volcanic rocks in the middle part of the quadrangle. Principal surficial deposits include late Pliocene to modern alluvial fan and fluvial deposits, Quaternary glacial deposits, and late Quaternary mass wasting deposits. Notable deep-seated landslide complexes reside in all major drainages—including Thomas Creek, Hunter Creek, Bronco Creek, and the smaller catchments along the west edge of the quadrangle. Most of the Carson Range is west-tilted with west-dipping Cenozoic strata. However, within the Mount Rose NW quadrangle, the dip domain flips and most all the Cenozoic strata dips east with numerous west-dipping normal faults. These west-dipping normal faults are cut by younger east-dipping normal faults of the Mount Rose fault zone on the east side of the range.  East-facing Quaternary fault scarps were observed on the east side of the range and west-facing Quaternary fault scarps were observed on the west side of the range.

This geologic map was funded in part by the USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program under STATEMAP award number G15AC00240, 2016.

 herdercreek

Preliminary Geologic Map of the Herder Creek Quadrangle, Elko County, Nevada
Author: Seth Dee and Michael W. Ressel
Year: 2016
Series: Open-File Report 16-5
Format: plate: 33 x 29 inches, color; text: 5 pages, b/w
Scale: 1:24,000
View/Download/Buy: http://pubs.nbmg.unr.edu/Prel-geol-Herder-Creek-quad-p/of2016-05.htm

The map area covers part of Starr Valley, the upper reaches of the Humboldt River, and the northwest part of the East Humboldt Range.

The Ruby Mountains–East Humboldt Range metamorphic core complex is exposed in the high-relief range front in the southeast part of the quadrangle. In this area, the core complex is comprised of intensely metamorphosed and highly attenuated Neoarchean through Mississippian(?) strata, thought to be part of the platform facies of the Proterozoic through Paleozoic passive margin. Contractional structures exposed in the map area are complex and difficult to discern due to overprinted extensional deformation but are likely part of the Winchell Lake nappe (WLN), a kilometer scale, southward-closing recumbent fold-nappe mapped in adjacent quadrangles to the east. Overturned Devonian to Neoproterozoic(?) meta-sedimentary strata exposed at the highest structural levels are interpreted to be in thrust contact with an underlying, upright sequence of Cambrian to Neoproterozoic(?) paragneiss and Paleoproterozoic to Neoarchean(?) orthogneiss in the core of the fold. This structural interpretation matches those from the adjacent Welcome quadrangle (McGrew and Snoke, 2015; NBMG Map 184). Rocks in the upper part of the metamorphic core complex are pervasively overprinted by a WNW-directed mylonitic shear fabric, which records middle to late Cenozoic extensional exhumation from mid-crustal depths. Abundant sills and lenses of less deformed Oligocene to Cretaceous garnet-muscovite leucogranite and biotite monzogranite intrude all metamorphic rocks in the quadrangle.

The west side of the East Humboldt Range is bound by the active, W-dipping Ruby Mountains frontal fault zone, which extends for more than 60 km to the southwest. A west step-over in the Ruby Mountains fault south of the Herder Creek drainage results in a broad, hanging wall uplift underlain by middle-Miocene to Pliocene strata comprised of NE-dipping to flat-lying tuffaceous sandstone, shale, and conglomerate of the Humboldt Formation and younger units. A tephra in the uppermost exposed section yielded a 40Ar/39Ar age on feldspar of 5.15 ± 1.82 Ma.

Repeated late Quaternary surface-rupturing earthquakes along active traces of the frontal fault are recorded by increased uplift and dissection of Quaternary surfaces as a function of relative age. Fault scarps in Holocene deposits have up to 2.5 m of vertical separation while glacial outwash deposits from the two most recent Pleistocene glacial advances have scarp heights ranging from 6 to 32 m. The upper reaches of several drainages have well-preserved glacial moraine deposits that record the Angel Lake and Lamoille glacial advances. Adjacent to the Humboldt River, in the northwest corner of the quadrangle, 3 sets of abandoned terrace surfaces are preserved, including a broad surface comprised of gravel-rich alluvium that was likely deposited during a period of increased discharge during the latest Pleistocene.

This geologic map was funded in part by the USGS National Cooperative Geologic Mapping Program under STATEMAP award number G15AC00240, 2016.