Two-Phase Exhumation of the Santa Rosa Mountains: Low- and High-Angle Normal Faulting During Initiation and Evolution of the Southern San Andreas Fault System
©2017. American Geophysical Union. All Rights Reserved. Low-angle detachment fault systems are important elements of oblique-divergent plate boundaries, yet the role detachment faulting plays in the development of such boundaries is poorly understood. The West Salton Detachment Fault (WSDF) is a major low-angle normal fault that formed coeval with localization of the Pacific-North America plate boundary in the northern Salton Trough, CA. Apatite U-Th/He thermochronometry (AHe; n = 29 samples) and thermal history modeling of samples from the Santa Rosa Mountains (SRM) reveal that initial exhumation along the WSDF began at circa 8 Ma, exhuming footwall material from depths of >2 to 3 km. An uplifted fossil (Miocene) helium partial retention zone is present in the eastern SRM, while a deeper crustal section has been exhumed along the Pleistocene high-angle Santa Rosa Fault (SFR) to much higher elevations in the southwest SRM. Detachment-related vertical exhumation rates in the SRM were ~0.15–0.36 km/Myr, with maximum fault slip rates of ~1.2–3.0 km/Myr. Miocene AHe isochrons across the SRM are consistent with northeast crustal tilting of the SRM block and suggest that the post-WSDF vertical exhumation rate along the SRF was ~1.3 km/Myr. The timing of extension initiation in the Salton Trough suggests that clockwise rotation of relative plate motions that began at 8 Ma is associated with initiation of the southern San Andreas system. Pleistocene regional tectonic reorganization was contemporaneous with an abrupt transition from low- to high-angle faulting and indicates that local fault geometry may at times exert a fundamental control on rock uplift rates along strike-slip fault systems.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Mason, C., Spotila, J., Axen, G., Dorsey, R., Luther, A., & Stockli, D. (2017). Two-Phase Exhumation of the Santa Rosa Mountains: Low- and High-Angle Normal Faulting During Initiation and Evolution of the Southern San Andreas Fault System. Tectonics, 36 (12), 2863-2881. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017TC004498