Geologic framework and Cenozoic evolution of the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada Page: 3 of 22
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Geologic Framework and Cenozoic Evolution
of the Yucca Mountain Area, Nevada
Kenneth F. Fox, Jr.
Richard W. Spengler
W. Bradley Myers
U.S. Geological Survey
The volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks composing Yucca
Mountain consist of a 1 to 3 km thick stratiform sequence of
Miocene ash-flows and interbedded tuffs erupted mainly from the
Timber Mountain-Claim Canyon-Oasis Valley areas to the north.
The volcanic rocks ponded over sedimentary rocks of probable
late Oligocene to Miocene age, whose lateral equivalents are
exposed to the west (Grapevine Mountains), south (Bat Mountain
area), and east (Red Mountain area). The sedimentary rocks,
consisting of fluvial and lacustrine deposits, interfinger with
fanglomerate shed from uplands to the west and south, and
overlie a basement of structurally imbricated Paleozoic and Late
Proterozoic clastic and carbonate strata.
Upper crustal rocks in the Yucca Mountain region were
thinned and extended through low-angle faulting and block
rotation, and oroclinally bent concurrent with and perhaps as a
consequence of movement on the Las Vegas Valley shear zone.
Deformation climaxed during late Miocene, concurrent with
eruption of the volcanic rocks of the southwestern Nevada
volcanic field, then probably resumed during the Pliocene, and
continued at a relatively low rate into the Holocene.
The rocks of Yucca Mountain are broken into elongate blocks
by north-trending, west-dipping faults with displacement as
much as 400 m, and by broken zones (zones of closely spaced
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Fox, K.F. Jr.; Spengler, R.W. & Myers, W.B. Geologic framework and Cenozoic evolution of the Yucca Mountain area, Nevada, article, December 31, 1990; Denver, Colorado. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc621989/m1/3/: accessed April 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.