Extensional Tectonics, Basin and Range

We have carried out numerous projects related to lithospheric extension in the Basin and Range province--from the study of metamorphic core complexes to the slip histories of normal faults that cut the brittle crust, producing the corrugated topography of the province today. Read more about our specific projects listed under "research" and in the papers listed under publications. 

Basin and Range

You can see forever: View across the northwestern Basin and Range province, northern Nevada


A Basin and Range normal fault and associated basin in geologic cross-section and as imaged by seismic reflection profiling from Lerch et al. (2009) (in press)



Where are we working now?  Shaded relief map of the northern Basin and Range province shows the unusual normal-fault related topographic features associated with the province--the result of crustal extension beginning ~ 45 Ma ago and continuing today.  There are still unsolved questions as to why the province is located where it is, when and where it extended through time, and what caused it to form (and continue to form).   Some of our current and past project areas:  1.  Anne Egger, Derek Lerch, Joe Colgan, Warner Range and surroundings (completed), 2. Joe Colgan and Derek Lerch (completed), 3.  Nick Van Buer (completed), 4. Ben Surpless (completed), 5.  Ariel Strickland (completed), 6.  Ariel Strickland, Alex Konstantinos, Elizabeth Miller, Trevor Dumitru and others (completed and in progress), 7.  Simon Klemperer's geophysical investigation of the Ruby Mountains core complex, (in progress) 8. Julie Fosdick (completed).  

Some recent publications:

2008 Fosdick, J. C., and Colgan J. P., Miocene extension in the East Range, Nevada; a two- stage history of normal faulting in the northern Basin and Range. Geological Society of America Bulletin 120, (9-10) (Sep): 1198-1213.

2008 Colgan, J.P., Shuster, D.L., and Reiners, P.W., Two-phase Neogene extension of the northwestern Basin and Range recorded in a single thermochronology sample: Geology, v. 36(8), p. 631-634, doi:10.1130/G24897A.1.

2009 Egger, A.E., Colgan, J.P., and York, C., Provenance and palaeogeographic implications of Eocene-Oligocene sedimentary rocks in the northwestern Basin and Range: International Geology Review, v. 51, p. 900 - 919.

2010 Egger, A.E., Glen, J.M.G. and Ponce, D.A., The northwestern margin of the Basin and Range Province, Part 2: Structural setting of a developing basin from seismic and potential field data, Tectonophysics Volume 488, Issues 1-4 ,p.150-161.

2010 Van Buer, N.J. and Miller, E.L., The Sahwave Batholith, NW Nevada:  Cretaceous arc flare-up in a basinal setting, Lithosphere, V.2, p. 423- 446. 

2011 Egger, A.E and Miller, E.L., Evolution of the northwestern margin of the Basin and Range: The geology and extensional history of the Warner Range and environs, northeastern California, Geosphere, doi: 10.1130/GS620.1.

2011 Colgan, J.P., Egger, A.E., John, D.A., Cousens, B., Fleck, R.J., and Henry, C.D. Oligocene and Miocene arc volcanism in northeastern California: Evidence for post-Eocene segmentation of the subducting Farallon plate: Geosphere, v. 7, p. 733-755, doi:10.1130/GES00650.1.

 2011 Strickland, A., Miller, E.L., and Wooden, J.,Kozdon, R. and Valley, J.W., Syn-extensional crustal melting and plutonism in the Albion-Raft River-Grouse Creek metamorphic core complex, American Journal of Science v. 311, no.4m 261-314.

2011 Strickland, A., Miller, E.L. and Wooden, J., The timing of Tertiary metamophism and deformation in the Albion-Raft River-Grouse Creek metamorphic core complex, Utah and Idaho, Journal of Geology v. 119, p. 185-206.

Van Buer, N.J., submitted, Geologic Map of the Sahwave and Nightingale Ranges, Pershing County, Nevada:  Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Open-File Report, scale 1:62,500.

2012  Miller, E.L., Konstantinou, A. and Strickland, A., 2012, Comment on, “Geodynamics of syn-convergent extension and tectonic mode switching:  Constraints from the Sevier-Laramide orogen” by Michael L. Wells et al., Tectonics, v. 31, TC4015, doi:10.1029/2012TC003103.

2012  Konstantinou, A., Strickland, A., Miller, E.L. and Wooden, J.P., 2012, Multistage Cenozoic extension of the Albion-Raft River-Grouse Creek metamorphic core complex:  Geochronologic and stratigraphic constraints, Geophere, doi: 10.1130/GES00778.

Konstantinou A., Valley J., Strickland A., Miller E.L., Fisher C., Vervoort J. and Wooden J.W. 2013b. Geochemistry and geochronology of the Jim Sage volcanic suite, southern Idaho: Implications for Snake River Plain magmatism and its role in the history of Basin and Range extension. Geosphere; v. 9; no. 6; p. 1–23; doi:10.1130/GES00948.1

Konstantinou, A. 2013. Crustal evolution of the northeastern Basin and Range: Insights from the structural and magmatic history of the Albion – Raft-River – Grouse-Creek metamorphic core complex. PhD Thesis. Stanford University.