Recognition of North Pacific paleoceanographic events in the marginal Humboldt (Eel River) basin of northern California enables correlation of stratigraphic sections and development of a chronostratigraphy. Paleoclimatically related coiling shifts in Neogloboquadrina pachyderma (Ehrenberg) and benthic foraminiferal datums form the basis of the chronostratigraphy. Benthic foraminiferal datums are defined by the occurrence of selected benthic species and abundance maxima of benthic biofacies. The compiled chronostratigraphy is used to refine reconstructions of the depositional history of Humboldt basin. Paleoceanographic events, recognized by the distribution of benthic foraminiferal biofacies, are used to infer paleoceanographic history along the northeastern Pacific margin. The similarity in coiling curves of N. pachyderma from the marine sequence at DSDP Site 173 and the coastal Centerville Beach section of Humboldt basin and at other independently dated sites along the northeastern Pacific margin demonstrates that matching records of climatic oscillations is a reliable method of correlating marine sequences. Benthic fauna from the Centerville Beach section vary in phase with climatically related coiling shifts in N. pachyderma. In particular these data show an increase in displaced neritic fauna during inferred warm intervals and resurgence of deeper bathyal fauna during inferred cool events. Similar data are observed from the inland Eel River section, demonstrating that benthic foraminiferal trends recognized at Centerville Beach can be identified elsewhere in Humboldt basin. This in-phase benthic response to climatic fluctuations probably results from changes in vertical depth range of many benthic species in response to paleoclimatically related vertical changes in water-mass position. Depositional histories reconstructed for two key sites in southern Humboldt basin indicate low rates of sediment accumulation during early basin filling with hemipelagic sediments. Initiation of turbidite sedimentation in the early Pliocene resulted in a sharp increase in rate of sediment accumulation. This increase in rate of sediment accumulation is partially a response to tectonic uplift in the northern Coast Ranges and may be an effect of realignment of motion between the Pacific and North American plates at about this time. The inland site shoaled more rapidly during turbidite sedimentation as a result of a higher rate of sediment accumulation. The rate of sediment accumulation increased again at this site in the late Pliocene during deposition of shelf and nearshore facies. The Eel River region subsided concurrent with deposition of these shallow-water deposits. ?? 1990.
Additional publication details
Neogene paleoceanographic events recorded in an active-margin setting: Humboldt basin, California