Development of Gregg Basin and the southwestern Grand Wash Trough during late-stage faulting in eastern Lake Mead, Arizona

Paul J. Umhoefer, Ernest M. Duebendorfer, Nathan Blythe, Zack A. Swaney, L. Sue Beard, William C. McIntosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The Lost Basin Range in the eastern Lake Mead domain consists of Proterozoic rocks that bound the west side of the Grand Wash Trough. Exhumation of the Protero zoic rocks of the Lost Basin Range occurred from ca. 18 to 15 Ma based on seven apatite fission-track ages that range from 20 to 15 Ma. The Lost Basin Range fault lies along the west side of the Lost Basin Range and steps to the east to the southern end of the Wheeler fault, which then runs north for 60 km, where it joins the Grand Wash fault. The geometry of the southern Wheeler-Lost Basin Range fault system is that of a relay ramp between two, west-dipping, high-angle normal faults. The intervening area of the fault step over, Gregg Basin, is interpreted as a relay ramp basin. New interpreted ages from stratigraphic units on the north and east sides of the Lost Basin Range integrated with existing structural data from the eastern Lake Mead domain reveal that faulting, sedimentation, and tilting of hangingwall and footwall blocks along the southern Wheeler-Lost Basin Range fault system began by 15.3 Ma. Sedimentation continued until after 13 Ma along the southeastern Lost Basin Range, while the age of continuing sedimentation in Gregg Basin is poorly constrained. A paleocanyon in the footwall of the southern Wheeler fault filled with conglomerate and minor breccia between ca. 15.3 and ca. 14 Ma and then overtopped to the south to cover the Paleozoic rocks of south Wheeler Ridge. The Paleozoic strata of the south Wheeler Ridge area tilted east 20°-30° more than the Miocene strata that overlie them, and therefore this tilting occurred before ca. 14 Ma. Upward-decreasing (fanning) bedding attitudes in the overlapping Miocene conglomerate indicate that Paleozoic strata were being tilted along with the Miocene strata by ca. 14 Ma. Gentle (5° and less) east dips in the lower beds of the Hualapai Limestone above and east of the paleocanyon suggest that most tilting in the western Grand Wash Trough ceased by ca. 11 Ma. The lower conglomerate of Gregg Basin lies below, and interfingers with, the limestone of Gregg Basin, which is undated but correlates with the 11-7 Ma Hualapai Limestone in the adjacent Grand Wash Trough. The syncline in upper Gregg Basin strata is linked spatially to the Wheeler and Lost Basin Range faults and indicates that these faults were likely active at 11-7 Ma. The two faults appear to cut the Gregg Basin limestone, and therefore post-7 Ma fault activity at lower rates is likely.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)221-241
Number of pages21
JournalSpecial Paper of the Geological Society of America
StatePublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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