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Neotectonics of the northern Mojave Desert

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Quaternary stratigraphy and terrace age diagram

Stratigraphy and mapping: Understanding the chronology of that layers of sediment were deposited is critical to interpreting earth history and preparing geologic maps. Likewise understanding how erosion and tectonic forces affect the landscape over time is equally essential to mapping-related sciences. This generalized stratigraphic diagram for the central Mojave Desert region of southern California. The diagram illustrates a working interpretation model that includes both basin-fill deposits (lake, stream, and floodplain deposits) and a geomorphic profile of stream channel terrace deposits on alluvial fans. This stratigraphic model is an essential component to map and interpret the changes to the landscape caused by movement along faults in the Mojave region. The offset of basin fill and especially alluvial deposits are an important component of unraveling fault motion and earthquake history in the region. It is the careful study of such deposits (using radiocarbon dating and other geochronologic dating methods) that fault movement history can be determined, and estimates for earthquake frequency, intensity, and potential impacts can be made.
graphic provided by David Miller

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