The Nova Basin contains an upper Miocene to Pliocene supradetachment sedimentary succession that records the unroofing of the Panamint metamorphic core complex, west of Death Valley, California. Basin stratigraphy reflects the evolution of sedimentation processes from landslide emplacement during basin initiation to the development of alluvial fans composed of reworked, uplifted sections of the basin fill. 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of volcanic units in middle and lower parts of the sequence provide age control on the tectonic and depositional evolution of the basin and, more generally, insights regarding the rate of change of depositional environments in supradetachment basins. Our work, along with earlier research, indicate basin deposition from 11.38 Ma to 3.35 Ma. The data imply sedimentation rates, uncorrected for compaction, of ~100 m Myr-1 in the lower, high-energy part to ~1000 m Myr-1 in the middle part characterized by debris-flow fan deposition. The observed variation in sediment flux rate during basin evolution suggests that supradetachment basins have complex depositional histories involving rapid transitions in both the style and rate of sedimentation.
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