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Reconstruction of Middle and Late Tertiary Extension: Elko-Carlin Region, Nevada, U.S.A.

James Pape
University of Arizona, Department of Geosciences Tucson, Arizona
[email protected]

The Elko Basin located in northeastern Nevada is of substantial geologic and economic interest. It is located within the Basin and Range extensional province, just southeast of the Carlin gold trend, one of the world’s most important gold producing areas. Moreover, the basin itself contains deeply buried lacustrine oil shales which may have generated significant amounts of hydrocarbons during the Neogene. The primary purpose of my master’s thesis project is to enhance the present understanding of the Tertiary structural and stratigraphic development of the Elko basin and the adjacent Carlin-Piñon Range and Ruby-East Humboldt core complex by performing a sequential, fault-by-fault, structural reconstruction of regional-scale balanced cross sections. These cross sections will restore the geology of this area to how it appeared during the late Eocene prior to the onset of regional normal-faulting related to Basin and Range extension. The results of this project will place the structural and stratigraphic development of this area within a broader extensional tectonic framework and may provide insights into the potential existence of hydrocarbon deposits within the Elko basin. Additionally, this study has implications for better understanding the genesis of late Eocene-age Carlin-type gold mineralization immediately north and west of the project area.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90094 © 2009 AAPG Foundation Grants in Aid