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A-tents in the Central Sierra Nevada, California: A geomorphological indicator of tectonic stress

Journal article
Authors Kerstin Ericson
Mats Olvmo
Published in Physical Geography
Volume 25
Issue 4
Pages 291-312
ISSN 0272-3646
Publication year 2004
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Pages 291-312
Language en
Links <Go to ISI>://000227884500002
Keywords a-tent, bornhardts, compressional stress, granite landforms, sierra nevada, yosemite-national-park, joint formation, rock, topography, fractures, evolution, australia, batholith, valley, uplift
Subject categories Earth and Related Environmental Sciences


A-tents and blisters are minor landforms associated with the release of compressive stress in combination with erosional off-loading in hard crystalline bedrock. The uplifted and westward tilted granitic batholith of the Sierra Nevada, California, comprises hundreds of Cretaceous intrusions, where sheeted bornhardts stand juxtaposed, and have been exposed to compressional stress during several time periods. Field mapping north of Yosemite Valley identified 79 A-tents with a preferred orientation ENE-WSW suggesting the application of directionally applied stress. A-tent, joint and bornhardt orientation imply NE-SW tension and NW-SE compression. The stress has probably been released after the rapid Tertiary uplift and erosional unloading in the late Quaternary. We suggest that the A-tents in this part of the Sierra Nevada are related to intrinsic compressional stress imposed on the bedrock during emplacement but before mid-Cretaceous transpression.

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