Tectonics of the Jemez Lineament in the Jemez Mountains and Rio Grande Rift

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Journal Article: Tectonics of the Jemez Lineament in the Jemez Mountains and Rio Grande Rift

The Jemez lineament is a NE trending crustal flaw that controlled volcanism and tectonism in the Jemez Mountains and the Rio Grande rift zone. The fault system associated with the lineament in the rift zone includes, from west to east, the Jemez fault zone southwest of the Valles-Toledo caldera complex, a series of NE trending faults on the resurgent dome in the Valles caldera, a structural discontinuity with a high fracture intensity in the NE Jemez Mountains, and the Embudo fault zone in the Española Basin. The active western boundary faulting of the Española Basin may have been restricted to the south side of the lineament since the mid-Miocene. The faulting apparently began on the Sierrita fault on the east side of the Nacimiento Mountains in the late Oligocene and stepped eastward in the early Miocene to the Canada de Cochiti fault zone. At the end of the Miocene (about 5 Ma) the active boundary faulting again stepped eastward to the Pajarito fault zone on the east side of the Jemez Mountains. The north end of the Pajarito fault terminates against the Jemez lineament at a point where it changes from a structural discontinuity (zone of high fracture intensity) on the west to the Embudo fault zone on the east. Major transcurrent movement occurred on the Embudo fault zone during the Pliocene and has continued at a much slower rate since then. The relative sense of displacement changes from right slip on the western part of the fault zone to left slip on the east. The kinematics of this faulting probably reflect the combined effects of faster spreading in the Española Basin than the area north of the lineament (Abiquiu embayment and San Luis Basin), the right step in the rift that juxtaposes the San Luis Basin against the Picuris Mountains, and counterclockwise rotation of various crustal blocks within the rift zone. No strike-slip displacements have occurred on the lineament in the central and eastern Jemez Mountains since at least the mid-Miocene, although movements on the still active Jemez fault zone, in the western Jemez Mountains, may have a significant strike-slip component. Basaltic volcanism was occurring in the Jemez Mountains at four discrete vent areas on the lineament between about 15 Ma and 10 Ma and possibly as late as 7 Ma, indicating that it was being extended during that time.

M.J. Jr. Aldrich

Published Journal 
Journal of Geophysical Research, 1986


Internet link for Tectonics of the Jemez Lineament in the Jemez Mountains and Rio Grande Rift

M.J. Jr. Aldrich. 1986. Tectonics of the Jemez Lineament in the Jemez Mountains and Rio Grande Rift. Journal of Geophysical Research. 91(B2):1753-1762.