Testing the Extensional Detachment Paradigm: A Borehole Observatory in the Sevier Desert Basin

Christie-Blick, Nicholas; Anders, Mark H.; Manatschal, Gianreto; Wernicke, Brian P.

Low-angle normal faults or detachments are widely regarded as playing an important role in crustal extension and the development of rifted continental margins (Manatschal et al., 2007). However, no consensus exists on how to resolve the mechanical paradox implied by the gentle dips of these faults and by the general absence of evidence for associated seismicity (Sibson, 1985; Wernicke, 1995; Axen, 2004). As part of a new initiative to rationalize geological and geophysical evidence and our theoretical understanding of how rocks deform, a group of forty-seven scientists and drilling experts from five countries met for four days on 15–18 July 2008 to discuss the present status of the paradox and a borehole-based strategy for resolving it. The workshop was held at two venues in Utah (the Utah Department of Natural Resources in Salt Lake City, and Solitude Mountain Resort in the adjacent Wasatch Range), with a one-day field trip to the Sevier Desert basin of west-central Utah to examine the general setting of potential drill sites and the footwall geology of the Sevier Desert detachment (Canyon Range).


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