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Bouguer gravity anomaly and isostatic residual gravity maps of the Walker Lake 1 degree by 2 degrees Quadrangle, California and Nevada

January 1, 1987

The accompanying gravity anomaly maps are part of a folio of maps of the Walker Lake 1° by 2° quadrangle, California and Nevada, prepared under the Conterminous United States Mineral Assessment Program. The quadrangle encompasses an area of about 19,500 km2 along and to the east of the east flank of the Sierra Nevada (fig. 1).

The Bouguer gravity anomaly map of the Walker Lake quadrangle was prepared by interpolating gravity values among 3,447 gravity stations established in the quadrangle and additional stations from adjacent quadrangles. An isostatic residual gravity map was prepared in order to reduce the effect; of interfering gravity gradients associated with the isostatic root of the Sierra Nevada. Methods of data reduction and factors that limit the accuracy of the gravity values are discussed in the following sections of this report.

The geologic interpretation of the gravity maps is based on previous studies, sample measurements, and correlation with other maps of the folio including a geologic map (Stewart and others, 1982) and a map showing Mesozoic plutonic rocks (John, 1983). The purpose of the interpretative part of this report is to demonstrate the correlation between gravity anomalies and the mapped geology, to assess the continuation of exposed geologic units beneath the surface, and to suggest the location of concealed subsurface bodies with mineral resource potential. A three-dimensional model of the Little Walker caldera (fig. 6) is used to illustrate a possible quantitative interpretation of a gravity anomaly. A concealed 25 by 75-km Cenozoic batholith along the east flank of the Sierra Nevada with possible lateral extensions is suggested in this report. A possible magmatic mechanism is discussed to augment contemporary explanations for the extensional origin of valleys. The possibility of lower gravity anomalies indicating thinner roof rocks in the basement beneath mountain ranges also is discussed. Furthermore, interpretation of gravity anomalies was applied in discussions with W.D. Menzie (oral commun. , 1982) as one of the criteria used to identify and to delineate areas of mineral resource potential.

Publication Year 1987
Title Bouguer gravity anomaly and isostatic residual gravity maps of the Walker Lake 1 degree by 2 degrees Quadrangle, California and Nevada
DOI 10.3133/mf1382E
Authors Donald Plouff
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Miscellaneous Field Studies Map
Series Number 1382
Index ID mf1382E
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse