Cordilleran Section - 108th Annual Meeting (29–31 March 2012)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 15:10


MCKEE, Ryan A., Department of Geology, San Jose State University, One Washington Square, San Jose, CA 95192 and MILLER, Jonathan S., Geology, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA 95192-0102,

The northern Highland Range (Nevada) occupies a critical structural position just to the north of the Black Mountains accommodation zone in the northern Colorado River Extensional Corridor (CREC), that separates west-tilted crustal blocks to the south from east-tilted blocks to the north. New 1:24000 scale mapping was completed to better understand the structural and volcanic/depositional evolution of the northern Highland Range near the accommodation zone.

The basal strata in the northern Highland Range are a thin (240 m) series of aphyric trachyandesites and crystal-rich trachydacite flows and breccia domes that sit nonconformably on Precambrian basement. Above this are 3000 m of monotonous intercalated trachyandesites and trachyandesite breccias, with a lithic tuff sequence (640 m) occurring in the middle part of the sequence. The regionally extensive Tuff of Bridge Spring (15.2 Ma) and Tuff of Mt. Davis (30-40 m) ignimbrites cap the trachyandesite sequence; boulder conglomerates comprise the remaining strata above the ignimbrites. Mainly N to NE-striking intermediate dikes variably cut the basement and overlying strata. Petrographic similarities between dikes and some flows suggest they likely served as feeders.

The strata are predominantly east-tilted 20° to 40°, and cut by a series of NW- to NE-trending, mostly W-dipping (40°-90°) normal faults with variable displacements (10’s to 1000+ m). In the southern part of the map area, which is at the northern boundary of the accommodation zone (a NW-plunging anticline), N-trending faults are cut by NW-trending faults. North of the accommodation zone boundary, faults mostly trend N or NE and a small basement horst is present. Dikes in the south are consistently N-striking but also change to either NE or NW-strikes in the north. Stratal tilts indicate the northern Highland Range is part of the east-tilted Lake Mead structural domain but the changing orientations of faults and dikes suggest a complicated strain field, perhaps a result of the western CREC breakaway fault (McCullough Range Fault) dying out at depth to the north beneath the mapping area.