South Bristol Mtns, CA


We are conducting field geological research in the South Bristol Mtns of California in conjunction with the US Geological Survey (EDMAP program) for the current funding year of May 2009-April 2010.  We are working on constraining the net slip on the South Bristol Mtns fault zone (one of the Eastern California Shear Zone strike-slip faults) by detailed mapping of offset Miocene volcanic rocks and older units in the South Bristol Mountains. This fault extends on both sides of I-40 and goes southeastward towards National Trails Highway (Route 66).  We are also mapping the youngest fault traces with a goal of  understanding the past history of slip on this fault zone.  This fault crosses 3 major lifelines:  Interstate 40, a major gas pipeline, and the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroad.   An earthquake along this fault zone could cause major disruption of these lifelines as well as affecting future developments in the vicinity of this part of Route 66.

Students involved in this project:  Janet Harvey (graduate student) and Laainam Chaipornkaew (undergraduate student).  In addition, five other students participated in mapping in this region as part of Caltech's Fall 2009 class in Advanced Field and Structural Geology (Ge121).

This project is funded by the US Geological Survey with matching funds from Caltech.