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Geologic Map of the Death Valley Ground-water Model Area, Nevada and California

The purpose of this map is to provide the surface expression of the geology in the Death Valley ground-water model area to be incorporated initially into a 3-D geologic framework model and eventually into a transient ground-water flow model by the U.S. Geological Survey (D'Agnese, 2000; D'Agnese and Faunt, 1999; Faunt and others, 1999; and O'Brien and others, 1999). This work has been conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy in order to assess regional ground water flow near the Nevada Test Site (NTS) and the potential radioactive waste repository at Yucca Mountain. The map is centered on the NTS and its perimeter encircles the entire boundary of the numerical flow model area, covering a total area of 57,000 km2. The physiography, geology, and tectonics of the model area are extremely complex (Hunt and Mabey, 1966; Stewart, 1980; Jennings, 1994; Slate and others, 2000; Wright and others, 1999b). The northern and eastern part of the area includes typical Basin and Range topography consisting of north-trending block-faulted ranges and intervening valleys. The central part contains diverse ranges, plateaus, basins, and alluvial flats (for example, the NTS volcanic highlands and Amargosa Valley). The rugged ranges and deep basins of the Death Valley region in eastern California are characteristic of the topography of the southern and western parts of the map area. The map spans numerous tectonic subdivisions of the Great Basin. Deformation includes several generations of upper Paleozoic to Mesozoic thrust faulting that have been dismembered by extensive regional Tertiary to Quaternary normal and strike-slip faults. Much of this extensional and translational deformation is active today, with rates and amounts that vary from low to moderate in the central, eastern, and northern parts of the study area in southern Nevada, to very high in the southwestern and western parts in eastern California. For detailed discussion of the tectonic framework of the map area, the reader is referred to Workman and others (2002).

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