Golden Gate Photo - California's Geomorphic Provinces Geotour

Basin and Range

Steep Alluvial Fan, Death Valley National Park


Steep Alluvial Fan, Death Valley National Park

The Basin and Range Province is the western extent of the larger Great Basin, which extends through the State of Nevada. As suggested by its name, the province consists of alternating linear ranges and basins. Roughly north-south oriented, the topography is controlled by parallel faults that merge at depth along a horizontal shear zone. On this shear zone, the entire Great Basin is spreading, the crust becoming thinner. The result is similar to a stack of dominoes being pushed over, where the sliding movement between dominoes represents the motion of the parallel faults, the tilted tops of the dominoes are the ranges, and the low points between the tops of the dominoes are the basins. The deepest of these basins is Death Valley, which includes the lowest point in the western hemisphere at 282 feet (86 meters) below sea level.

Print No. A99-28-10.

More images from Death Valley.


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Sierra Nevada Modoc Plateau