Date of Award:

2002

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Geology

Advisor/Chair:

Susanne U. Janecke

Abstract

Geologic mapping, basin analysis, and tephrochronologic analysis in the Clifton quadrangle of southeast Idaho indicates that the modern Basin-and-Range topography is only a few million years old and that the bulk of Cenozoic extension was accommodated by slip on an older low-angle normal-fault system, the Bannock detachment system. The detachment system was active between ~12 and < 4 Ma and accommodated ~50 % extension.

Cross-cutting relationships show that the master detachment fault, the Clifton fault, is the youngest low-angle normal fault of the system, was active at a low angle, and has not been rotated to a low-dip angle through time. Map patterns and relationships indicate that the hanging wall to the detachment system began as a cohesive block that later broke up along listric and planar normal faults that either sole into or are cut by the master detachment fault. The Miocene-Pliocene Salt Lake Formation, a syntectonic, basin-fill deposit of the Bannock detachment system, was deposited during three sub-episodes of extension on the detachment system. Depositional systems within the Salt Lake Formation evolved from saline/alkaline lakes to fresh water lakes and streams to braided streams in response to the changing structural configuration of rift basins in the hanging wall of the detachment system. After breakup of the hanging wall began, the master detachment fault excised part of the hanging wall and cut hanging-wall deposits and structures.

The structural geometry of the Bannock detachment system strongly resembles that of detachments documented in metamorphic core complexes. Therefore, we interpret the Bannock detachment system as a proto-metamorphic core complex, akin to the Sevier Desert detachment fault. The Bannock detachment system also collapsed the Cache-Pocatello culmination of the dormant Sevier fold-and-thrust belt, much like the Sevier Desert detachment collapsed the Sevier culmination.

Structures of the Bannock detachment system are overprinted by a second episode of extension accommodated by E- and NE-trending normal faults that may be related to subsidence along the Yellowstone hotspot track and a third episode of extension accommodated by high-angle, Basin-and-Range normal faults. This last episode of extension began no earlier than 4-5 Ma and continues today.

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