Transform-normal extension on the Northern Death Valley fault system, California-Nevada
The Northern Death Valley fault zone is a major right-lateral structure that has accommodated 70 km or more of regional transtensional deformation in Tertiary to Recent time. Extension parallel to its north-west transport direction in the Death Valley region of California has produced ‘pull-apart’ structures that are responsible for opening the central Death Valley rhombochasm. In several ranges along the length of the Northern Death Valley fault zone, there is also evidence for extension directed to the south-west, normal to strike-slip movement. Evidence from the Funeral, Grapevine and Cottonwood Mountains suggests that a significant amount of down-dip slip has occurred on the Northern Death Valley fault zone and parallel structures (together referred to as the Northern Death Valley fault system) coeval with the majority of right-lateral slip and transform-parallel extension. As a result of both these components of extension, a separate basin opened in northern Death Valley with an orientation and architecture very different from that of central Death Valley. In addition, the Northern Death Valley fault system may be responsible for the present topography of the Funeral and Grapevine Mountains. Transform-normal extension appears to be the result of a misorientation of the Northern Death Valley fault zone within the regional stress field over the past 6 Myr, as suggested by simple geometric calculations.