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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1117

Prepared in cooperation with National Park Service

Gravity and Magnetic Investigations of the Mojave National Preserve and Adjacent Areas, California and Nevada

By V.E. Langenheim, S. Biehler, R. Negrini, K. Mickus, D.M. Miller, and R.J. Miller


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Gravity and aeromagnetic data provide the underpinnings of a hydrogeologic framework for the Mojave National Preserve by estimating the thickness of Cenozoic deposits and locating inferred structural features that influence groundwater flow. An inversion of gravity data indicates that thin (<1 km) basin deposits cover much of the Preserve, except for Ivanpah Valley and the Woods Mountains volcanic center. Localized areas of Cenozoic deposits thicker than 500 m are predicted beneath parts of Lanfair Valley, Fenner Valley, near Kelso, Soda Lake, and southeast of Baker. Along the southern margin of the Mojave National Preserve, basins greater than 1 km deep are located between the Clipper and Marble Mountains, between the Marble and Bristol Mountains, and south of the Bristol Mountains near Amboy. Both density and magnetization boundaries defined by horizontal-gradient analyses coincide locally with Cenozoic faults and can be used to extend these faults beneath cover. Magnetization boundaries also highlight the structural grain within the crystalline rocks and may serve as a proxy for fracturing, an important source of permeability within the generally impermeable basement rocks, thus mapping potential groundwater pathways through and along the mountain ranges in the study area.

Version 1.0

First posted June 23, 2009
Last updated June 29, 2009


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Suggested citation:

Langenheim, V.E., Biehler, S., Negrini, R., Mickus, K., Miller, D.M., and Miller, R.J., 2009, Gravity and magnetic Investigations of the Mojave National Preserve and adjacent areas, California and Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1117, 25 p. [].





Gravity data

Aeromagnetic data

Physical property data



Conclusions and recommendations

References Cited

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