Geologische Rundschau

, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 200–212 | Cite as

Geomorphological analysis of neotectonic deformation, northern Owens Valley, California

  • N. Pinter
  • E. A. Keller
Original Paper


At the western edge of the Basin and Range Province, the Owens Valley is the site of active seismicity and deformation. Morphometric analyses of three geomorphological features are used to determine the patterns and rates of neotectonic deformation: (l) a network of Pleistocene channels cut on top of the Bishop Tuff; (2) uplifted terraces of the Owens River; and (3) alluvial fans of the White Mountain front.

In the Owens Valley, the three analyses are consistent with the same solution: net eastward tilt of the Owens Valley block at a rate of between 3.5 and 6.1°/Ma. Given the dip on the basement determined from geophysical data and extrapolating the rate of tilt in the Owens Valley back in time, it is inferred that the break-up of the Sierra Nevada and the northern Owens Valley occurred in the Pliocene, between around 2 and 4 Ma ago. The pattern of deformation in the northern Owens Valley matches anticlinal flexure on the Coyote warp, near the front of the Sierra Nevada, and faulting across the Volcanic Tableland is consistent with flexural extension. It is proposed that the Coyote warp is an expression of the tectonic hinge between westward rotation of the Sierra Nevada and eastward rotation of the Owens Valley since the Pliocene.

Key words

neotectonics morphometric analysis crustal deformation Basin and Range Owens Valley 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Pinter
    • 1
  • E. A. Keller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Geological SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaSanta BarbaraUSA

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