Extension zones within continents have complex patterns of tectonic evolution. The Basin and Range Province of western North America provides an ideal location to study the mode of extension in continental regions. We have utilized numerical models to test two distinct geological models of extension that have been proposed for the Basin and Range: (1) a model in which extension takes place by uniform (or pure shear) stretching; and (2) a model in which extension occurs along discrete low-angle shear zones by a simple shear mechanism. These numerical models indicate that both styles of extension produce results generally consistent with observed heat flow, gravity, and elevation data. Distinctive patterns in these data are maintained primarily during the period of extension, implying that present day observations are dominantly a consequence of an ongoing process. The results further imply that the effects of present day extension will obscure the evidence of previous extensional episodes at least as far as the parameters of heat flow, elevation, and gravity are concerned.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Special Paper of the Geological Society of America|
|State||Published - Jan 1 1986|
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