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The Santa Rosa-Cortes Ridge is an 1800 m high, 180 km long feature lying approximately 90 km off the coast of southern California and directly south of the northern group of Channel Islands. Geophysical profiling and sampling cruises to the northern part of the ridge, an area of recent and future lease sales for petroleum development, provide a strong data base for interpretation of structural and sedimentary patterns and their relation to potential geologic hazards. The northern part of the ridge is a complexly folded and faulted northwest-trending anticlinorium composed mostly of lower and middle Miocene shale and mudstone. Erosional remnants of upper Miocene and Pliocene rocks unconformably overlie highly folded pre-upper Miocene strata. The major structure of the ridge developed almost continuously from Oligocene or early Miocene time to the end of the Tertiary; many small folds formed between post-late Miocene and pre-late Pleistocene time. Numerous small faults cut the rocks on the ridge top. Faults cut basement rocks on the west side of the ridge along the Ferrelo fault zone. Published data on historical epicenters and evidence of offsets on the seafloor from seismic reflection and side-scan profiles, including limited evidence of possible strike-slip movement along fault traces, indicate that the northern Santa Rosa-Cortes Ridge is tectonically active. The crest of the ridge was truncated as the result of repeated sea-level fluctuations in the Quaternary. A thin veneer of unconsolidated medium to fine sand, less than 3 m thick, mantles most of the ridge; locally in topographically low areas and on the upper flanks of the ridge, thickness exceeds 20 m. The meager sediment cover, coupled with available evidence of relatively strong currents flowing across the ridge top, indicate that the ridge is an area of nondeposition or winnowing of fine sediments. Modern sediments become thicker and finer-grained from the ridge top to the ridge flanks, suggesting active accretion in those areas. Slumps are present at various depths on the flanks, and it seems probable that the thicker deposits (> 20 m) of modern sediments on the upper flanks will be sites of future slumping. ?? 1980.
Additional Publication Details
Sedimentary and structural patterns on the northern Santa Rosa-Cortes Ridge, southern California