Flexure and isostatic residual gravity of the Sierra Nevada

P. J. Kennelly, C. G. Chase

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The Sierra Nevada of California displays an isostatic gravity anomaly of +35mGal over the western foothills and -45mGal at the crest of the range. A flexural isostatic model designed to explain the rapid Neogene uplift of the Sierra Nevada is consistent with these observations and can explain a portion of both gravity anomalies by contributions from Moho depths. The present-day crustal root causing regional compensation in this model differs from the simple local Airy compensation assumed for the Sierra in calculating the isostatic residual gravity. Two-dimensional gravity modeling indicates that this difference results in a residual gravity high of +9mGals over the western foothills, which are buoyed up by the excess root to the east, and a low of -16mGals over the crest of the Sierra. The remainder of the isostatic gravity anomaly is attributed to upper crustal density contrasts because high-density rocks underlie the foothills, and a low-density batholith forms the crest. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1759-1764
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue numberB2
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geophysics
  • Oceanography
  • Forestry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology


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