Clockwise rotation and implications for northward drift of the western Transverse Ranges from paleomagnetism of the Piuma Member, Sespe Formation, near Malibu, California

Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
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Abstract

New paleomagnetic results from mid-Tertiary sedimentary beds in the Santa Monica Mountains reinforce the evidence for large-scale rotation of the western Transverse Ranges, and anisotropy measurements indicate that compaction-induced inclination flattening may resolve a long-standing controversy regarding the original paleolatitude of the rotated block. Previously published paleomagnetic data indicate that post-Oligocene rotation amounts to 70°–110° clockwise, affecting the Channel Islands, Santa Monica Mountains, and Santa Ynez Mountains. The Sespe Formation near Malibu consists of a lower member dominated by nonmarine sandstone and conglomerate and an upper section, the Piuma Member, which consists of gray-red sandstone and mudstone interbedded with minor tuff and limestone beds. The Piuma Member has a paleomagnetic pole at 36.6°N, 326.7°E (A95min = 5.0°, A95max = 9.6°), obtained by thermal demagnetization of 34 oriented cores from Oligocene and early Miocene beds. After correcting for plunge of the geologic structure, the data are consistent with significant clockwise rotation (77° ± 7°) of the region relative to stable North America. Rotation of the western Transverse Ranges is generally viewed as a consequence of Pacific–North American plate interactions after 28 Ma, when east–west subduction gave way to northwest transform motion in southern California. Inclinations from the Piuma study indicate a paleolatitude anomaly of 11° ± 7° and are consistent with a mean northward drift that exceeds generally accepted San Andreas fault displacement by a factor of 3. However, sedimentary inclination error may accentuate the anomaly. Anisotropy of isothermal remanent magnetization indicates inclination flattening of approximately 8°, and correction for the effect reduces the paleolatitude anomaly to 5.3° ± 5.8°. Compaction may explain the inclination flattening in these sedimentary rocks, but the process does not adequately explain lower-than-expected inclinations found in previous studies of Miocene volcanic rocks of the western Transverse Ranges.


Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Clockwise rotation and implications for northward drift of the western Transverse Ranges from paleomagnetism of the Piuma Member, Sespe Formation, near Malibu, California
Series title Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems
DOI 10.1029/2010GC003047
Volume 11
Issue 7
Year Published 2010
Language English
Publisher AGU
Contributing office(s) Geology and Geophysics Science Center
Description Article Q07005