Employing 2D Forward Modeling of Gravity and Magnetic Data to Further Constrain the Magnitude of Extension Recorded by the Caetano Caldera, Nevada
Abstract:Regionally continuous Cenozoic rocks in the Basin and Range that predate the onset of major mid-Miocene extension provide valuable insight into the sequence of faulting and magnitude of extension. An exceptional example of this is Caetano caldera, located in north-central Nevada, that formed during the eruption of the Caetano Tuff at the Eocene-Oligocene transition. The caldera and associated deposits, as well as conformable caldera-filling sedimentary and volcanic units allow for the reconstruction of post Oligocene extensional faulting. Extensive mapping and geochronologic, geochemical and paleomagnetic analyses have been conducted over the last decade to help further constrain the eruptive and extensional history of the Caetano caldera and associated deposits.
Gravity and magnetic data, that highlight contrasts in density and magnetic properties (susceptibility and remanence), respectively, are useful for mapping and modeling structural and lithic discontinuities. By combining existing gravity and aeromagnetic data with newly collected high-resolution gravity data, we are performing detailed potential field modeling to better characterize the subsurface within and surrounding the caldera. Modeling is constrained by published geologic map and cross sections and by new rock properties for these units determined from oriented drill core and hand samples collected from outcrops that span all of the major rock units in the study area. These models will enable us to better map the margins of the caldera and more accurately determine subsurface lithic boundaries and complex fault geometries, as well as aid in refining estimates of the magnitude of extension across the caldera. This work highlights the value in combining geologic and geophysical data to build an integrated structural model to help characterize the subsurface and better constrain the extensional tectonic history if this part of the Great Basin.