Is the Sevier Desert Reflection of West-Central Utah a Normal Fault?: Comment and Reply

Allmendinger, Richard W.; Royse, Jr., Frank; Anders, Mark H.; Christie-Blick, Nicholas; Wills, Stewart

Forum discussion on an article originally by Anders et al. Allmendinger and Royse critique Anders et al.'s argument, to which Anders et al. responds.
Critique abstract: The continuing discussion of the Sevier Desert region, almost 20 years after MacDonald’s (1976) classic paper, provides a measure of the significance of the region as well as the non-uniqueness of seismic reflection data interpretation. The article by Anders and Christie-Blick (1994) and the nearly simultaneous publication of similar ideas by Hamilton (1994) raise important questions. The interpretation of a Sevier Desert detachment has always been a hypothesis to be tested rather than a fact. In our opinion, however, Anders and Christie-Blick and Hamilton have ignored a variety of basic geologic data requiring the presence of a major low-angle normal fault on the east side of the Sevier Desert basin.
Response abstract: We concur with Allmendinger and Royse’s assessment of the detachment interpretation for the Sevier Desert reflection as a ‘‘hypothesis to be tested.’’ We reported on an attempt to do just that: to look for evidence for fault-related deformation in samples from two boreholes that intersect this feature. The absence of evidence for cataclasis in the inferred hanging-wall block or ductile deformation in the footwall naturally raises some interesting issues for the tectonic interpretation of the Sevier Desert. In drawing attention to these issues, we have not ‘‘ignored’’ any basic geologic data, nor are we aware of any data that ‘‘require’’ the presence of a major low-angle normal fault.


Also Published In


More About This Work


In response to the article available at