An integrated database of outcrop studies, borehole logs, and seismic-reflection profiles is used to divide Eocene through Miocene strata of the central and southern San Joaquin Basin, California, into a framework of nine stratigraphic sequences. These third- and higher-order sequences (<3 m.y. duration) comprise the principal intervals for petroleum assessment for the basin, including key reservoir and source rock intervals. Important characteristics of each sequence are discussed, including distribution and stratigraphic relationships, sedimentary facies, regional correlation, and age relations. This higher-order stratigraphic packaging represents relatively short-term fluctuations in various forcing factors including climatic effects, changes in sediment supply, local and regional tectonism, and fluctuations in global eustatic sea level. These stratigraphic packages occur within the context of second-order stratigraphic megasequences, which mainly reflect long-term tectonic basin evolution. Despite more than a century of petroleum exploration in the San Joaquin Basin, many uncertainties remain regarding the age, correlation, and origin of the third- and higher-order sequences. Nevertheless, a sequence stratigraphic approach allows definition of key intervals based on genetic affinity rather than purely lithostratigraphic relationships, and thus is useful for reconstructing the multiphase history of this basin, as well as understanding its petroleum systems.
Additional Publication Details
USGS Numbered Series
Middle Tertiary stratigraphic sequences of the San Joaquin Basin, California: Chapter 6 in Petroleum systems and geologic assessment of oil and gas in the San Joaquin Basin Province, California