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Eocene Origin of Owens Valley, California

College of Earth, Oceans, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA
Geosciences 2019, 9(5), 194;
Received: 22 March 2019 / Revised: 9 April 2019 / Accepted: 26 April 2019 / Published: 28 April 2019
PDF [2276 KB, uploaded 28 April 2019]


Bedrock (U-Th)/He data reveal an Eocene exhumation difference greater than four kilometers athwart Owens Valley, California near the Alabama Hills. This difference is localized at the eastern fault-bound edge of the valley between the Owens Valley Fault and the Inyo-White Mountains Fault. Time-temperature modeling of published data reveal a major phase of tectonic activity from 55 to 50 Ma that was of a magnitude equivalent to the total modern bedrock relief of Owens Valley. Exhumation was likely accommodated by one or both of the Owens Valley and Inyo-White Mountains faults, requiring an Eocene structural origin of Owens Valley 30 to 40 million years earlier than previously estimated. This analysis highlights the importance of constraining the initial and boundary conditions of geologic models and exemplifies that this task becomes increasingly difficult deeper in geologic time. View Full-Text
Keywords: low-temperature thermochronology; western US tectonics; quantitative thermochronologic modeling low-temperature thermochronology; western US tectonics; quantitative thermochronologic modeling

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Sousa, F.J. Eocene Origin of Owens Valley, California. Geosciences 2019, 9, 194.

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