Imaging the Deep Structure of the Central DeathValley Basin Using Receiver Function, Gravity,and Magnetic Data
Musa Hussein, Laura Serpa, Diane Doser, Aaron Velasco
Bright Spot, Crustal Models, Data Incorporation, Death Valley, Magmatic Underplating
International Journal of Geosciences,
ABSTRACT: We use receiver function, gravity, and magnetic data to image the deep structures of central Death Valley. Receiver function analysis suggests the Moho is 24 km deep in the central part of the basin and deepens to 33 km to the east and 31 km to the west. The estimated lower crustal density is 2900 kg/m3, which suggests a gabbroic composition, whereas the upper crustal density, excluding basin sediments, is estimated to average 2690 kg/m3 or approximately a quartzofeldspathic composition. We modeled the magnetic sources as upper crustal to suggest a relatively shallow Curie depth in this region of high heat flow. We developed models to test the hypothesis that a low-density, non-magnetic body (magma or fluid-rich material?) within the lower crust at a depth of 15 km could coincide with the location of the Death Valley bright spot imaged on a deep seismic reflection profile. Those models suggest that if there is a low density region in the mid to lower crust in the area of the bright spot, then the region is also likely to be underplated by mafic or ultramafic materials which may have contributed to heating, uplift, and thinning of the crust during extension.