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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1157

Geophysical Studies in the Vicinity of the Warner Mountains and Surprise Valley, Northeast California, Northwest Nevada, and Southern Oregon

By David A. Ponce, Jonathan M.G. Glen, Anne E. Egger, Claire Bouligand, Janet T. Watt, and Robert L. Morin


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From May 2006 to August 2007, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collected 793 gravity stations, about 102 line-kilometers of truck-towed and ground magnetometer data, and about 325 physical-property measurements in northeastern California, northwestern Nevada, and southern Oregon. Gravity, magnetic, and physical-property data were collected to study regional crustal structures and geology as an aid to understanding the geologic framework of the Surprise Valley geothermal area and, in general, geothermal systems throughout the Great Basin.

The Warner Mountains and Surprise Valley mark the transition from the extended Basin and Range province to the unextended Modoc Plateau. This transition zone, in the northwestern corner of the Basin and Range, is relatively diffuse compared to other, more distinct boundaries, such as the Wasatch front in Utah and the eastern Sierran range front. In addition, this transition zone is the site of a geothermal system with potential for development, and previous studies have revealed a complex structural setting consisting of several obliquely oriented fault sets. As a result, this region has been the subject of several recent geological and geophysical investigations. The gravity and magnetic data presented here support and supplement those studies, and although the study area is composed predominantly of Tertiary volcanic rocks of the Modoc Plateau rocks, the physical properties of these and others rocks create a distinguishable pattern of gravity and magnetic anomalies that can be used to infer subsurface geologic structure.

Last modified October 14, 2009

First posted August 13, 2009

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For additional information:
Contact Information, Western Region Geology and Geophysics Science Center—Menlo Park
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS-989
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3591

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Suggested citation:

Ponce, D.A., Glen, J.M.G., Egger, A.E., Bouligand, Claire, Watt, J.T., and Morin, R.L., 2009, Geophysical studies in the vicinity of the Warner Mountains and Surprise Valley, northeast California, northwest Nevada, and southern Oregon: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1157, 19 p., 6 data files.



Gravity, Magnetic, and Physical-Property Data

General Discussion


References Cited

six data tables

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