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GMEG - Geology, Minerals, Energy, & Geophysics Science Center

Geologic framework of the Northern Great Basin




Project objectives

The overall objective of this project is to refine our understanding of the timing and structural style of Cenozoic deformation, volcanism and sedimentation in the northern Great Basin, the arid, mountainous region of Nevada and western Utah between the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Range. We will accomplish this by carrying out geologic and geophysical investigations of the least-studied areas of the northern Great Basin and integrating these data with results from adjacent areas that have been studied in more detail. Specific objectives will vary between study areas, but these studies will all involve geologic mapping of areas where key field relationships bear on the timing and style of deformation, basin formation, volcanism, and ore deposit formation. Geophysical, geochronologic, and geochemical studies will be carried out to provide a 3D (subsurface) and 4D (temporal) framework for the geologic mapping. The resulting synthesis will improve our ability to predict which parts of the Great Basin are favorable or unfavorable for mineral and energy resources and geologic hazards.

Strategy and Approach: The overall approach will be to synthesize available data on the geology of the northern Great Basin, identify the largest “holes” in our present knowledge, and try to fill these gaps by carrying out detailed geologic and geophysical studies of areas where field relationships bear on key problems, including the timing and structural style of deformation and basin formation, and the timing and tectonic setting of volcanism and mineral deposit formation (see individual task descriptions). The initial phase of the project (currently underway) will involve synthesizing existing data and identifying key areas for carrying out new mapping and other studies. This phase will leverage data from previous and ongoing USGS projects, including:


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