Structural Evolution of the Virgin Spring Phase of the Amargosa Chaos, Death Valley, California, USA
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The Amargosa Chaos and Fault of Death Valley are complex features that play important roles in various tectonic models. Some recent models claim the fault is a regional detachment accommodating 80 km of NW-directed transport that produced the Chaos in its hangingwall. I offer an alternative interpretation: the chaos is a product of multiphase deformation that likely spanned the late Mesozoic and Cenozoic. The Amargosa Fault represents just one of six deformation events. The accompanying map (supplemental file) shows the cross-cutting relationships among fault populations: (D1) 25% north-northwest directed shortening across an imbricate thrust and tight fold system; (D2) E-SE extension on five normal faults; (D3) extension-related folding, which folded the D2 faults; (D4) normal-oblique slip on the Amargosa Fault; (D5) E-W extension on domino faults; (D6) extension on the Black Mountains Frontal Fault. The D2 faults, not the Amargosa, created the enigmatic attenuation observed in the Chaos.