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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 01–393

In cooperation with the National Park Service

Thickness and Geometry of Cenozoic Deposits in California Wash Area, Nevada, Based on Gravity and Seismic-Reflection Data

By V.E. Langenheim, J.J. Miller, W.R. Page, and J.A. Grow

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (3.7 MB)Abstract

Gravity and seismic-reflection data provide insights into the subsurface stratigraphy and structure of the California Wash area of southern Nevada. This area is part of the Lower Colorado flow system and stratigraphic and structural data are important inputs into developing the hydrogeologic framework. These data indicate that the basin beneath California Wash reaches depths of 2–3 km. The eastern margin of the basin coincides with a system of young (Quaternary and late Tertiary) faults, although both seismic and gravity data indicate that the major basin-bounding fault is 2–3 km west of the mapped young faults. Dry Lake Valley, the adjacent valley to the west, is characterized by thinner basin fill. The basin configuration beneath both California Wash and Dry Lake Valleys based on the inversion of gravity data is unconstrained because of the lack of gravity stations north of 36°30’. Broad aeromagnetic anomalies beneath pre-Cenozoic basement in the Muddy Mountains and Arrow Canyon Range reflect Precambrian basement at depths of ~5 km. These rocks are probably barriers to ground-water flow, except where fractured.

Last modified March 16, 2012
First posted December 12, 2001

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Contact Information, Western Region Geology and Geophysics Science Center—Menlo Park
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS-973
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3591

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Suggested citation:

Langenheim, V.E., Miller, J.J., Page, W.R., and Grow, J.A., 2001, Thickness and geometry ofCenozoic deposits inCalifornia Wash area,Nevada, based on gravityand seismic-reflection data: U.S. Geological Survey ?Open-File Report 01–393, 27 p., available at




Acknowledgments3 Geologic Setting

Drill Hole Data and Physical Properties

Gravity and Aeromagnetic Data

Seismic-Reflection Data

Depth to Basement

Discussion and Recommendations


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