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Brief Report for Northern Death Valley fault zone, Grapevine Mountains section (Class A) No. 141a

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Compiled in cooperation with the California Geological Survey

citation for this record: Machette, M.N., and Klinger, R.E., compilers, 2002, Fault number 141a, Northern Death Valley fault zone, Grapevine Mountains section, in Quaternary fault and fold database of the United States: U.S. Geological Survey website,, accessed 09/30/2014 09:58 PM.

Synopsis General: The Northern Death Valley fault zone is marked by prominent Quaternary dextral-slip faults that are more-or-less coincident with (or east of) the axis of northern Death Valley. The fault zone is part of the much longer Death Valley fault system that extends from Fish Lake Valley (NV) in the north to past the Garlock fault [69] on the south. The Northern Death Valley fault zone represents a southward extension of the Fish Lake Valley fault zone [49] (and vice versa), although they show opposing uplift directions and (presumably) different normal-dip directions. Detailed studies of offset alluvial fans along the Grapevine Mountains suggest dextral-slip rates are 3-6 mm/yr depending on what time slice your are looking at in the Holocene to late Quaternary. To the south, the Northern Death Valley fault zone [141] merges with the Black Mountains fault zone [142] over a broad area between Salt Springs and Furnace Creek that is referred to as the Mustard Hills transition zone [142a]. Although no paleoseismic studies have been conducted on the fault zone owing to its location mainly within protected wilderness areas of Death Valley National Park, the entire trace is well mapped, and the amount of offset is well documented in a variety of middle to late Quaternary deposits.

Sections: This fault has 3 sections. Based on Klinger's mapping and topical studies (Klinger and Sarna-Wojcicki, 2001 #4770), Machette and others (2001 #4773) divided the Northern Death Valley fault zone into three 30- to 35-km-long sections primarily on the nature of the rocks found along the fault, but also based on the fault's geomorphology, trend, continuity, and location of the fault relative to the range. From north to south, these are defined as the 1) Grapevine Mountains section [141a], 2) Mesquite Flat-Screwbean Spring section [141b], and 3) Kit Fox Hills section [141c].
County(s) and State(s) ESMERALDA COUNTY, NEVADA
Physiographic province(s) BASIN AND RANGE
Length (km) This section is 38 km of a total fault length of 100 km.
Average strike N28°W (for section) versus N32°W (for whole fault)
Sense of movement Dextral
Dip Direction W
Historic earthquake
Most recent prehistoric deformation Latest Quaternary (<15 ka)
Slip-rate category Between 1.0 and 5.0 mm/yr
Date and Compiler(s) 2002
Michael N. Machette, U.S. Geological Survey
Ralph E. Klinger, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation