Mapping of normal faults cutting the Bishop Tuff in the Volcanic Tableland, northern Owens Valley, California, using side-looking airborne radar data, low-altitude aerial photographs, airborne light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data, and standard field mapping yields insights into fault scarp development, fault system evolution, and timing. Fault zones are characterized by multiple linked fault segments, tilting of the welded ignimbrite surface, dilation of polygonal cooling joints, and toppling of joint-bounded blocks. Maximum fault zone width is governed by (i) lateral spacing of cooperating fault segments and (ii) widths of fault tip monoclines. Large-displacement faults interact over larger rock volumes than small-displacement faults and generate larger relay ramps, which, when breached, form the widest portions of fault zones. Locally intense faulting within a breached relay ramp results from a combination of distributed east-west extension, and within-ramp bending and stretching to accommodate displacement gradients on bounding faults. One prominent fluvial channel is offset by both east- and west-dipping normal faults such that the channel is no longer in an active flowing configuration, indicating that channel incision began before development of significant fault-related geomorphic features. The channel thalweg is “hanging” with respect to modern (Q1) and previous (Q2) Owens River terraces, is incised through the pre-Tahoe age terrace level (Q4, 131–463 ka), and is at grade with the Tahoe age (Q3, 53–119 ka) terrace. Differential incision across fault scarps implies that the channel remained active during some of the faulting history, but it was abandoned between Q2 and Q3 time, while faulting continues to the present day.
- Received 3 June 2015.
- Revision received 12 February 2016.
- Accepted 7 March 2016.
- © 2016 Geological Society of America