Terrestrial cosmogenic surface exposure dating of moraines at Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada, California, and slip rate estimate for the West Tahoe fault.

Ian Pierce, Steven G. Wesnousky, & Lewis A. Owen

Submitted August 15, 2017, SCEC Contribution #7745, 2017 SCEC Annual Meeting Poster #140

Two sets of Pleistocene moraines (Tioga and Tahoe) are preserved at Cascade Lake along the west side of Lake Tahoe. 10Be terrestrial cosmogenic nuclide surface exposure ages for two younger Tioga moraines yield an average age of 22.3 ± 1.2 ka, coincident with the global last glacial maximum. The ages suggest that the Tioga glaciation may have reached its maximum several thousand years earlier in the Lake Tahoe basin than to the south along the east flank of the Sierra Nevada. The oldest 10Be age (120 ± 8 ka) determined for an additional suite of 10 boulders exhibiting significant scatter in 10Be ages is interpreted to be the minimum age of formation for older Tahoe moraines in the Tahoe basin, suggesting they were deposited during marine oxygen isotope stage 6. The moraines at Cascade Lake are displaced by the West Tahoe fault that strikes northward for 45 km along the western edge of the Lake Tahoe basin. Vertical displacements of the crests of the Tahoe and Tioga moraines are 59 ± 10 and 32 ± 12 m, respectively. Averaged over the time since the formation of the Tahoe and Tioga moraines, the average vertical separation rates are <0.5 ± 0.1 and ~1.4 ± 0.7 mm/yr, respectively. The measured vertical separation across the broad graben on the Tioga moraine may be accentuated by its deposition on a preexisting scarp and, in this regard, the increase in slip rate since the Tioga glaciation may be apparent rather than real. The fault slip rate and accompanying horizontal rate of extension averaged over the time since the formation of the older Tahoe moraines are respectively 0.6 ± 0.2 and 0.3 ± 0.2 mm/yr. The slip rate averaged over the time since emplacement of the Tahoe moraine is in general accord with prior geologic studies reporting slip rate estimates elsewhere along the fault and the horizontal extension rate is at the lower end of extension rates estimated by others with geodesy across the Tahoe basin.

Citation
Pierce, I., Wesnousky, S. G., & Owen, L. A. (2017, 08). Terrestrial cosmogenic surface exposure dating of moraines at Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada, California, and slip rate estimate for the West Tahoe fault.. Poster Presentation at 2017 SCEC Annual Meeting.


Related Projects & Working Groups
Earthquake Geology