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Complete Report for Bettles Well-Petrified Springs fault (Class A) No. 1326

Brief Report ||Partial Report

citation for this record: Sawyer, T.L., and Adams, K.Kenneth, compilers, 1998, Fault number 1326, Bettles Well-Petrified Springs fault, in Quaternary fault and fold database of the United States: U.S. Geological Survey website,, accessed 09/23/2014 04:17 AM.

Synopsis This relatively long, northwest-striking right-lateral fault zone bounds northeast fronts of the Pilot Mountains and Gabbs Valley Range; this fault is one of four or five northwest-striking dextral faults in Monte Cristo Valley, Stewart Valley, and Gabbs Valley Range area of the "Walker Lane" belt. Movement began on the Bettles Well fault zone as early as the Mesozoic, but most of the dextral movement has occurred on the fault zone during the late Cenozoic. Reconnaissance and locally detailed photogeologic mapping of the fault zone and studies of late Cenozoic faulting are the sources of data. Trench investigations and detailed studies of scarp morphology have not been completed.

Name comments Refers to faults mapped by Nielsen (1965 #2544), Hardyman and others (1975 #2918), Dohrenwend (1982 #2481), Molinari (1984 #1584), Ekren and Byers (1985 #2905; 1986 #2907), Bell and others (1999 #4768), Bell (unpublished map of Quaternary faults and lineaments, Monte Cristo Valley), Oldow and Meinwald (1992 #2920), Dohrenwend and others (1996 #2846). The southern part has been called the Bettles Well fault and the northern part the Petrified Springs fault. dePolo (1998 #2845) referred to the entire fault zone as the Bettles Well fault system and Hamel (1983 #2923) referred to the entire zone as the Battle's (sic) Well fault. To avoid confusion and because of their continuity, parallel strike, dextral slip, and apparent similar recency of activity, we combine the Bettles Well and Petrified Springs names to describe this entire fault zone. This fault zone extends from southern end of the Pilot Mountains, along its northeast and north fronts and the northeast fronts of Table and Muller Mountains, across Petrified Summit, and along east flank of southern Gabbs Valley Range.

Fault ID Comments:
Refers to fault WL29 (Bettles Well fault system) of dePolo (1998 #2845).
County(s) and State(s) ESMERALDA COUNTY, NEVADA
Physiographic province(s) BASIN AND RANGE
Reliability of location Good
Compiled at 1:100,000 scale.

Comments: Location chiefly based on 1:62,500-scale map of Dohrenwend (1982 #2909) and 1:250,000-scale map of Dohrenwend (1982 #2481) by photogeologic analysis of 1:58,000-nominal-scale color-infrared photography transferred directly to 1:100,000-scale topographic quadrangle maps enlarged to scale of the photographs. Additional faults were located based on 1:62,500-scale maps of Molinari (1984 #1584), and 1:48,000-scale geologic maps of Ekren and Byers (1985 #2905; 1986 #2907) with late Cenozoic emphasis, and Bell (unpublished map of Quaternary faults and lineaments, Monte Cristo Valley) by photogeologic analysis of 1:12,000 low-sun-angle photography along the east flank of the Pilot Mountains, and 1:24,000-scale geologic maps of Oldow and Meinwald (1992 #2920) with late Cenozoic emphasis.

Geologic setting This relatively long, northwest-striking right-lateral fault zone bounds the northeast fronts of the Pilot Mountains, Table Mountain, Muller Mountain and east flank of the southern Gabbs Valley Range. Movement began on the Bettles Well fault zone as early as the Mesozoic. However, most of the 32 km of dextral movement occurred during the late Cenozoic (Albers, 1967 #2922; Hardyman and others, 1975 #2918; Stewart, 1980 #162). The fault zone has a right-stepping range-bounding southern part and intermontane-valley-bounding and range-bounding northern part that is remarkably linear.

Length (km) 67 km.
Average strike N32°W
Sense of movement Dextral

Comments: (Nielsen, 1965 #2544; Molinari, 1984 #1584; Ekren and Byers, 1985 #2905; 1986 #2907; Stewart, 1988 #1654)

Dip Direction NE; SW
Paleoseismology studies

Geomorphic expression The northern part of the fault is characterized as an intermontane-valley-bounding and range-bounding fault that is remarkably linear. At its north end, the fault appears to bifurcate and splay around Mystery Ridge in a horsetail pattern, extending a few kilometers into southern Gabbs Valley. Further southeast the fault is simply expressed a single northwest-striking, northeast-facing scarp on Quaternary erosional surfaces and alluvium. Near petrified summit, the fault is expressed as a series of subparallel, generally right-stepping, northwest-striking faults that both cut and bound Tertiary bedrock, Quaternary erosional surfaces, and Quaternary deposits. The southern part of the fault generally bounds the eastern range-front of the arcuate Pilot Mountains, and consists of several parallel piedmont faults including two between Graham Spring and Bettles Well, that are marked by scarps juxtaposing Quaternary deposits against bedrock and scarps and lineaments on late Quaternary piedmont slope deposits. The northwest-striking piedmont faults appear to step right from Bettles Well to parallel fault scarps along base of Table Mountain at Mud Spring faults (Molinari, 1984 #1584; Dohrenwend and others, 1996 #2846). A north-striking fault that displaces Quaternary talus passes directly west of Tim Hilt Summit and connects the echelon northwest-striking faults through the stepover area (Oldow and Meinwald, 1992 #2920). The short scarps at Mud Springs and two scarps at Poleline Spring are parallel and form another right stepover in the section.

Age of faulted surficial deposits Late Quaternary; Quaternary; and Tertiary. Scarps mapped by Dohrenwend (1982 #2481; 1982 #2909) and Dohrenwend and others (1996 #2846) are on or involve late Quaternary piedmont-slope deposits. Dohrenwend (1982 #2909) mapped one short fault that offsets latest Quaternary alluvial-fan deposits southwest of Gabbs Mountain. Other faults involve or cut early Quaternary erosional or alluvial surfaces and bedrock (Dohrenwend, 1982 #2909; Dohrenwend and others, 1996 #2846). Several faults have been mapped displacing Tertiary volcanic rocks and older bedrock units (Hardyman and others, 1975 #2918; Molinari, 1984 #1584; Ekren and Byers, 1985 #2905; 1986 #2907; Oldow and Meinwald, 1992 #2920).
Historic earthquake
Most recent prehistoric deformation Late Quaternary (<130 ka)

Comments: Although timing of the most recent event is not well constrained, there is general agreement on a late Quaternary time among topical studies of the fault zone (Dohrenwend, 1982 #2909; Molinari, 1984 #1584; Oldow and Meinwald, 1992 #2920; Dohrenwend and others, 1996 #2846). However, one fault may offset latest Quaternary deposits (Dohrenwend, 1982 #2909).

Recurrence interval
Slip-rate category Less than 0.2 mm/yr

Comments: A low slip rate is inferred from a lack of prominent scarps and general knowledge of regional slip rates. However, 32 km of late-Cenozoic right-lateral displacement (Hardyman and others, 1975 #2918) suggests a moderate long-term slip rate.
Date and Compiler(s) 1998
Thomas L. Sawyer, Piedmont Geosciences, Inc.
Kenneth Adams, Piedmont Geosciences, Inc.
References #2922 Albers, J.P., 1967, Belt of sigmoidal bending and right-lateral faulting in the western Great Basin: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 78, p. 143-156.

#4768 Bell, J.W., dePolo, C.M., Ramelli, A.R., Sarna-Wojcicki, A.M., and Meyer, C.E., 1999, Surface faulting and paleoseismic history of the 1932 Cedar Mountain earthquake area, west-central Nevada, and implications for modern tectonics of the Walker Lane: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 111, p. 791-807.

#2845 dePolo, C.M., 1998, A reconnaissance technique for estimating the slip rate of normal-slip faults in the Great Basin, and application to faults in Nevada, U.S.A.: Reno, University of Nevada, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, 199 p.

#2481 Dohrenwend, J.C., 1982, Map showing late Cenozoic faults in the Walker Lake 1° by 2° quadrangle, Nevada-California: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-1382-D, 1 sheet, scale 1:250,000.

#2909 Dohrenwend, J.C., 1982, Reconnaissance surficial geologic map of the Gabbs-Luning area, west-central Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF-1374, scale 1:62,500.

#2846 Dohrenwend, J.C., Schell, B.A., Menges, C.M., Moring, B.C., and McKittrick, M.A., 1996, Reconnaissance photogeologic map of young (Quaternary and late Tertiary) faults in Nevada, in Singer, D.A., ed., Analysis of Nevada's metal-bearing mineral resources: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Open-File Report 96-2, 1 pl., scale 1:1,000,000.

#2905 Ekren, E.B., and Byers, F.M., Jr., 1985, Geologic map of the Gabbs Mountain, Mount Ferguson, Luning, and Sunrise Flat quadrangles, Mineral and Nye Counties, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Investigations Map I-1577, 1 sheet, scale 1:48,000.

#2907 Ekren, E.B., and Byers, F.M., Jr., 1986, Geologic map of the Mount Annie NE, Mount Annie, Ramsey Spring and Mount Annie SE quadrangles, Mineral and Nye Counties, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Miscellaneous Investigations Map I-1579, scale 1:48,000.

#2923 Hamel, D.S., 1983, Length, style, continuity and displacement of the Battle's [Bettles] Well fault, Mineral County, Nevada: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, p. 384.

#2918 Hardyman, R.F., Ekren, E.B., and Byers, F.M., Jr., 1975, Cenozoic strike slip, normal and detachment faults in the northern part of the Walker Lane, west-central Nevada: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, v. 7, no. 7, p. 1100.

#1584 Molinari, M.P., 1984, Late Cenozoic geology and tectonics of Stewart and Monte Cristo Valleys, west-central Nevada: Reno, University of Nevada, unpublished M.S. thesis, 124 p., 7 pls., scale 1:62,500.

#2544 Nielsen, R.L., 1965, Right-lateral strike-slip faulting in the Walker Lane, west-central Nevada: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 76, no. 11, p. 1301-1308.

#2920 Oldow, J.S., and Meinwald, J.N., 1992, Geologic map of the Bettles Well quadrangle, Nevada: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Field Studies Map 1, 1 sheet, scale 1:24,000.

#162 Stewart, J.H., 1980, Regional tilt patterns of late Cenozoic basin-range fault blocks, Western United States: Geological Society of America Bulletin, v. 91, p. 460-464.

#1654 Stewart, J.H., 1988, Tectonics of the Walker Lane belt, western Great Basin—Mesozoic and Cenozoic deformation in a zone of shear, in Ernst, W.G., ed., Metamorphism and crustal evolution of the western United States, Ruby Volume VII: Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, Prentice Hall, p. 683-713.