Marine geophysical investigations provide new data concerning the stratigraphy, tectonic and sedimentary history, and the ground water geology of the southeastern Santa Barbara Channel region. The offshore stratigraphy identified in seismic reflection profiles includes a succession of Neogene to Quaternary strata. The middle Miocene Conejo volcanics form an acoustical basement and the overlying late Cenozoic sedimentary rocks attain a thickness greater than 2,500 m. These sedimentary deposits fill a structurally controlled, physiographic and depositional depression called the Ventura Basin.
Structure consists generally of a gently folded, east-trending Tertiary synclinorium bordered on the north by a regional thrust fault and on the south by a steep asymmetrical anticlinal ridge. Most structures show evidence of north-south compression that occurred during early Pleistocene time. Three well-defined unconformities represent widespread erosion in late Miocene, early to middle Pleistocene, and late Pleistocene time. The boundaries of Miocene, Pliocene, and lower Pleistocene strata continue uninterrupted eastward along the southern part of Santa Barbara basin to Hueneme Canyon, where they turn northeast and can be traced to the coast near Port Hueneme. These limits probably represent the south edge of the Santa Barbara basin during Pliocene and Pleistocene time.
Fresh water-bearing materials of the Oxnard plain are unconsolidated Quaternary sediment laid down on more consolidated Tertiary rocks. Offshore, the total fresh water-bearing materials distinguished in the seismic reflection profiles attain a thickness of about 356 m and have an areal extent of over 760 km2. Strata that contain the offshore continuation of the five major on-land aquifers (Grimes Canyon, Fox Canyon, Hueneme, Mugu, and Oxnard aquifers) are identified in the seismic reflection profiles. These strata make up the two offshore ground-water basins, the Mound and Oxnard plain ground-water basins, which are separated by the east-west trending Oak Ridge fault. Possible entrance areas for salt water intrusion into fresh water aquifers are found along the walls of the submarine canyons and along the northern slopes of Santa Barbara and Santa Monica basins. Hueneme and Mugu aquifers are probably exposed locally in all five submarine canyons of the Oxnard offshore area and may also crop out along the upper northern slope of Santa Monica basin. In all of these areas, salt water readily intrudes the aquifers. A salinity-temperature-depth study made in April, 1971, does not indicate any great dilution of surface ocean water by fresh water that could be 'leaking' from the exposed aquifers along the walls of Hueneme Canyon and the landward slope of Santa Barbara Channel.
Earthquakes in the vicinity of the Oxnard plain suggest that the region is seismically active. Epicenters are widely dispersed over the region. No distinct trend or alignment of earthquake epicenters occurs near the trace of any of the faults, although many epicenters are scattered around the Oak Ridge zone of deformation in the northern part of the region. The largest magnitude earthquake recorded in the area was a magnitude 5.7 that occurred on February 21, 1973, offshore of Point Mugu, south of the Oxnard plain.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
The marine geology of the eastern Santa Barbara Channel, with particular emphasis on the ground water basins offshore from the Oxnard Plain, Southern California
U.S. Geological Survey,
viii, 104 leaves, 13 fold. leaves of ill. :ill., maps ;29 cm.