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125 Years of Science for America - 1879 to 2004
U.S. Geological Survey
Open-File Report 03-12

Investigation of Linear Magnetic Anomalies in the Funeral Mountains, Death Valley Region, California

By John W. Hillhouse and Robert Morin


thumbnail view of map with different degrees of magnetism shown in different colors
Aeromagnetic anomalies, Funeral Mountains

A series of northeast-trending magnetic anomalies were detected in the Funeral Mountains with a high-resolution aeromagnetic survey of the Death Valley-Amargosa Desert region of California and Nevada. We report results of a ground-level magnetic survey that ties the anomalies to strongly magnetic beds within the Stirling Quartzite. The study area covers 18 km2 near Indian Pass, approximately 30 km south of Beatty, Nevada. Member A of the Stirling Quartzite contains magnetite-rich schist, characterized by magnetic susceptibility of 0.015 (SI). The magnetic beds, which are concentrated in a 37-m thick interval, crop out in three ridges separated by sub-parallel normal faults. Two-dimensional modeling of the magnetic profile over one of the ridges fits an east-dipping layer, consistent with the local geologic structure. In the Death Valley region, spring alignments and magnetic anomalies appear to be related. Although we found no evidence in the Funeral Mountains that the fault zones are unusually magnetic, the normal faults produce lengthy tilted blocks that do produce magnetic anomalies from upturned magnetic beds within the blocks. In this way, patterns of spring occurrence and linear aeromagnetic anomalies may both reflect the regional geologic structure.

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Maintained by: Michael Diggles
Created: November 26, 2004
Last modified: November 29, 2004 (mfd)