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Marine geology and earthquake hazards of the San Pedro Shelf region, southern California

Professional Paper 1687

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Abstract

High-resolution seismic-reflection data have been com- bined with a variety of other geophysical and geological data to interpret the offshore structure and earthquake hazards of the San Pedro Shelf, near Los Angeles, California. Prominent structures investigated include the Wilmington Graben, the Palos Verdes Fault Zone, various faults below the western part of the shelf and slope, and the deep-water San Pedro Basin. The structure of the Palos Verdes Fault Zone changes mark- edly southeastward across the San Pedro Shelf and slope. Under the northern part of the shelf, this fault zone includes several strands, but the main strand dips west and is probably an oblique-slip fault. Under the slope, this fault zone con- sists of several fault strands having normal separation, most of which dip moderately east. To the southeast near Lasuen Knoll, the Palos Verdes Fault Zone locally is a low-angle fault that dips east, but elsewhere near this knoll the fault appears to dip steeply. Fresh sea-floor scarps near Lasuen Knoll indi- cate recent fault movement. The observed regional structural variation along the Palos Verdes Fault Zone is explained as the result of changes in strike and fault geometry along a master strike-slip fault at depth. The shallow summit and possible wavecut terraces on Lasuen knoll indicate subaerial exposure during the last sea-level lowstand. Modeling of aeromagnetic data indicates the presence of a large magnetic body under the western part of the San Pedro Shelf and upper slope. This is interpreted to be a thick body of basalt of Miocene(?) age. Reflective sedimentary rocks overlying the basalt are tightly folded, whereas folds in sedimentary rocks east of the basalt have longer wavelengths. This difference might mean that the basalt was more competent during folding than the encasing sedimentary rocks. West of the Palos Verdes Fault Zone, other northwest-striking faults deform the outer shelf and slope. Evidence for recent movement along these faults is equivocal, because age dates on deformed or offset sediment are lacking.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Marine geology and earthquake hazards of the San Pedro Shelf region, southern California
Series title:
Professional Paper
Series number:
1687
Edition:
-
Year Published:
2004
Language:
ENGLISH
Description:
39 p.; 2 plates