Geology and geomorphology--Offshore of Point Reyes Map Map Area, California

Metadata Updated: November 12, 2020

This part of DS 781 presents data for the geologic and geomorphic map of the Offshore of Point Reyes map area, California. The vector data file is included in "Geology_OffshorePointReyes.zip," which is accessible from http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/781/OffshorePointReyes/data_catalog_OffshorePointReyes.html. Marine geology and geomorphology was mapped in the Offshore of Point Reyes map area from approximate Mean High Water (MHW) to the 3-nautical-mile limit of California’s State Waters. MHW is defined at an elevation of 1.46 m above the North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88) (Weber and others, 2005). Offshore geologic units were delineated on the basis of integrated analyses of adjacent onshore geology with multibeam bathymetry and backscatter imagery, seafloor-sediment and rock samples (Reid and others, 2006), digital camera and video imagery, and high-resolution seismic-reflection profiles. The onshore bedrock mapping was compiled from Galloway (1977), Clark and Brabb (1997), and Wagner and Gutierrez (2010). Quaternary mapping was compiled from Witter and others (2006) and Wagner and Gutierrez (2010), with unit contacts modified based on analysis of 2012 LiDAR imagery; and additional Quaternary mapping by M.W. Manson. The morphology and the geology of the Offshore of Point Reyes map area result from the interplay between tectonics, sea-level rise, local sedimentary processes, and oceanography. The Point Reyes Fault Zone runs through the map area and is an offshore curvilinear reverse Fault Zone (Hoskins and Griffiths, 1971; McCulloch, 1987; Heck and others, 1990; Stozek, 2012) that likely connects with the western San Gregorio fault further to the south (Ryan and others, 2008), making it part of the San Andreas Fault System. The Point Reyes Fault Zone is characterized by a 5 to 11 km-wide zone that is associated with two main fault structures, the Point Reyes Fault and the Western Point Reyes Fault (fig. 1). Tectonic influences impacting shelf morphology and geology are related to local faulting, folding, uplift, and subsidence. Granitic basement rocks are offset about 1.4 km on the Point Reyes thrust fault offshore of the Point Reyes headland (McCulloch, 1987), and this uplift combined with west-side-up offset of the San Andreas Fault (Grove and Niemi, 2005) resulted in uplift of the Point Reyes Peninsula, including the adjacent Bodega and Tomales shelf. The Western Point Reyes Fault is defined by a broad anticlinal structure visible in both industry and high-resolution seismic datasets and exhibits that same sense of vergence as the Point Reyes Fault. The deformation associated with north-side-up motion across the Point Reyes Fault Zone has resulted in a distinct bathymetric gradient across the Point Reyes Fault, with a shallow bedrock platform to the north and east, and a deeper bedrock platform to the south. Late Pleistocene uplift of marine terraces on the southern Point Reyes Peninsula suggests active deformation west of the San Andreas Fault (Grove and others, 2010) on offshore structures. The Point Reyes Fault and related structures may be responsible for this recent uplift of the Point Reyes Peninsula, however, the distribution and age control of Pleistocene strata in the Offshore of Point Reyes map area is not well constrained and therefore it is difficult to directly link the uplift onshore with the offshore Point Reyes Fault structures. Pervasive stratal thinning within inferred uppermost Pliocene and Pleistocene (post-Purisima) units above the Western Point Reyes Fault anticline suggests Quaternary active shortening above a curvilinear northeast to north-dipping Point Reyes Fault zone. Lack of clear deformation within the uppermost Pleistocene and Holocene unit suggests activity along the Point Reyes Fault zone has diminished or slowed since 21,000 years ago. In this map area the cumulative (post-Miocene) slip-rate on the Point Reyes Fault Zone is poorly constrained, but is estimated to be 0.3 mm/yr based on vertical offset of granitic basement rocks (McCulloch, 1987; Wills and others, 2008). With the exception of the bathymetric gradient across the Point Reyes Fault, the offshore part of this map area is largely characterized by a relatively flat (<0.8°) bedrock platform. The continental shelf is quite wide in this area, with the shelfbreak located west of the Farallon high , about 35 km offshore. Sea level has risen about 125 to 130 m over about the last 21,000 years (for example, Lambeck and Chappell, 2001; Peltier and Fairbanks, 2005), leading to broadening of the continental shelf, progressive eastward migration of the shoreline and wave-cut platform, and associated transgressive erosion and deposition (for example, Catuneanu, 2006). Land-derived sediment was carried into this dynamic setting, and then subjected to full Pacific Ocean wave energy and strong currents before deposition or offshore transport. Much of the inner shelf bedrock platform is composed of Tertiary marine sedimentary rocks, which are underlain by Salinian granitic and metamorphic basement rocks, including the Late Cretaceous porphyritic granite (unit Kgg), which outcrops on the seafloor south of the Point Reyes headland. Unit Kgg appears complexly fractured, similar to onshore exposures, with a distinct massive, bulbous texture in multibeam imagery. The Tertiary strata overlying the granite form the core of the Point Reyes syncline (Weaver, 1949) and include the early Eocene Point Reyes Conglomerate (unit Tpr), mid- to late Miocene Monterey Formation (unit Tm), late Miocene Santa Margarita Formation (unit Tsm), late Miocene Santa Cruz Mudstone (unit Tsc), and late Miocene to early Pliocene Purisima Formation (unit Tp). The Point Reyes Conglomerate is exposed on the seafloor adjacent to onshore outcrops on the Point Reyes headland and has a distinct massive texture with some bedding planes visible, but the strata are highly fractured. Based on stratigraphic correlations from seismic reflection data and onshore wells, combined with multibeam imagery, we infer rocks of the early Eocene Point Reyes Conglomerate extend at least 6 km northwest from onshore exposures at Point Reyes headland. The absence of unit Tsc in onshore wells (Clark and Brabb, 1997) suggests these rocks are unlikely to occur within the Tertiary section of this map area, north of the Point Reyes Fault. In this map area, unit Tu represents seafloor outcrops of a middle Miocene to upper Pliocene sequence overlying unit Tpr, that may include units Tm, Tsm, and Tp. Seafloor exposures of unit Tu are characterized by distinct rhythmic bedding where beds are dipping and by a mottled texture where those beds become flat-lying. Modern nearshore sediments are mostly sand (unit Qms and Qsw) and a mix of sand, gravel, and cobbles (units Qmsc and Qmsd). The more coarse-grained sands and gravels (units Qmsc and Qmsd) are primarily recognized on the basis of bathymetry and high backscatter. The emergent bedrock platform north and west of the Point Reyes headland is heavily scoured, resulting in large areas of unit Qmsc and associated Qmsd. Both Qmsc and Qmsd typically have abrupt landward contacts with bedrock and form irregular to lenticular exposures that are commonly elongate in the shore-normal direction. Contacts between units Qmsc and Qms are typically gradational. Unit Qmsd forms erosional lags in scoured depressions that are bounded by relatively sharp and less commonly diffuse contacts with unit Qms horizontal sand sheets. These depressions are typically a few tens of centimeters deep and range in size from a few 10's of meters to more than 1 km2. There is an area of high-backscatter, and rough seafloor southeast of the Point Reyes headland that is notable in that it includes several small, irregular "lumps", with as much as 1 m of positive relief above the seafloor (unit Qsr). Unit Qsr occurs in water depths between 50 and 60 meters, with individual lumps randomly distributed to west-trending. This area on seismic-reflection data shows this lumpy material rests on several meters of latest Pleistocene to Holocene sediment and is thus not bedrock outcrop. Rather, it seems likely that this lumpy material is marine debris, possibly derived from one (or more) of the more than 60 shipwrecks offshore of the Point Reyes Peninsula between 1849 and 1940 (National Park Service, 2012). It is also conceivable that this lumpy terrane consists of biological "hardgrounds". Video transect data crossing unit Qsr near the Point Reyes headland was of insufficient quality to distinguish between these above alternatives. A transition to more fine-grained marine sediments (unit Qmsf) occurs around 50–60 m depth within most of the map area, however, directly south and east of Drakes Estero, backscatter and seafloor sediment samples (Chin and others, 1997) suggest fine-grained sediments extend into water depths as shallow as 30 m. Unit Qmsf is commonly extensively bioturbated and consists primarily of mud and muddy sand. These fine-grained sediments are inferred to have been derived from the Drakes Estero estuary or from the San Francisco Bay to the south, via predominantly northwest flow at the seafloor (Noble and Gelfenbaum, 1990). References Cited Catuneanu, O., 2006, Principles of Sequence Stratigraphy: Amsterdam, Elsevier, 375 p. Chin, J.L., Karl, H.A., and Maher, N.M., 1997, Shallow subsurface geology of the continental shelf, Gulf of the Farallones, California, and its relationship to surficial seafloor characteristics: Marine Geology, v. 137, p. 251-269. Clark, J.C., and Brabb, E.E., 1997, Geology of the Point Reyes National Seashore and vicinity: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 97-456, scale 1:48,000. Galloway, A.J., 1977, Geology of the Point Reyes Peninsula Marin County, California: California Geological Survey Bulletin 202, scale 1:24,000. Grove, K. and Niemi, T., 2005, Late Quaternary deformation and slip rates in the northern San Andreas fault zone at Olema Valley, Marin County, California: Tectonophysics, v. 401, p. 231-250. Grove, K., Sklar, L.S., Scherer, A.M., Lee, G., and Davis, J., 2010, Accelerating and spatially-varying crustal uplift and its geomorphic expression, San Andreas Fault zone north of San Francisco, California: Tectonophysics, v. 495, p. 256-268. Heck, R.G., Edwards, E.B., Kronen, J.D., Jr., and Willingham, C.R., 1990, Petroleum potential of the offshore outer Santa Cruz and Bodega basins, California, in Garrison, R.E., Greene, H.G., Hicks, K.R., Weber, G.E., and Wright, T.L., eds. Geology and tectonics of the central California coastal region, San Francisco to Monterey: Pacific Section, American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin GB67, p. 143-164. Hoskins E.G., Griffiths, J.R., 1971, Hydrocarbon potential of northern and central California offshore: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Memoir 15, p. 212-228. Lambeck, K., and Chappell, J., 2001, Sea level change through the last glacial cycle: Science, v. 292, p. 679-686, doi: 10.1126/science.1059549. McCulloch, D.S., 1987, Regional geology and hydrocarbon potential of offshore Central California, in Scholl, D.W., Grantz, A., and Vedder, J.G., eds., Geology and resource potential of the continental margin of Western North America and adjacent ocean basins Beaufort Sea to Baja California: Circum-Pacific Council for Energy and Mineral Resources Earth Science Series, v. 6, p. 353-401. National Park Service, 2012, Shipwrecks at Point Reyes, available at: http://www.nps.gov/pore/historyculture/upload/map_shipwrecks.pdf Noble, M.A. and Gelfenbaum, G., 1990, A pilot study of currents and suspended sediment in the Gulf of the Farallones: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 90-476, 30 p. Peltier, W.R., and Fairbanks, R.G., 2006, Global glacial ice volume and Last Glacial Maximum duration from an extended Barbados sea level record: Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 25, p. 3,322-3,337. Reid, J.A., Reid, J.M., Jenkins, C.J., Zimmerman, M., Williams, S.J., and Field, M.E., 2006, usSEABED Pacific Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) offshore surficial-sediment data release: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 182, available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/2006/182/. Ryan, H.F., Parsons, T., and Sliter, R.W., 2008, Vertical tectonic deformation associated with the San Andreas Fault offshore of San Francisco, California: Tectonophysics, v. 475, p. 209-223. Stozek, B.A., 2012, Geophysical evidence for Quaternary deformation within the offshore San Andreas fault system, northern California: Masters Thesis, San Francisco State University, 141 p. Wagner, D.L., and Gutierrez, C.I., 2010, Preliminary Geologic Map of the Napa 30’ x 60’ Quadrangle, California: California Geological Survey, scale 1:100,000. Weber, K.M., List, J.H., and Morgan, K.L., 2005, An operational Mean High Water datum for determination of shoreline position from topographic lidar data: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005 1027, accessed April 5, 2011, at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2005/1027/. Wills, C.J., Weldon, R.J., II, and Bryant, W.A., 2008, Appendix A California fault parameters for the National Seismic Hazard Maps and Working Group on California Earthquake Probabilities 2007: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007 1437A, 48 p., available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1437/a/. Witter, R.C., Knudsen, K.L., Sowers, J.M., Wentworth, C.M., Koehler, R.D., Randolph, C.E., Brooks, S.K., and Gans, K.D., 2006, Maps of Quaternary Deposits and Liquefaction Susceptibility in the Central San Francisco Bay Region, California, U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 06-1037, scale 1:24,000.Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, v. 95, p. 861-877.

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Metadata Date April 26, 2018
Metadata Created Date November 12, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 12, 2020
Reference Date(s) January 1, 2014 (publication)
Frequency Of Update notPlanned

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Geology and Geomorphology Offshore of Point Reyes map area.

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Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Date April 26, 2018
Metadata Created Date November 12, 2020
Metadata Updated Date November 12, 2020
Reference Date(s) January 1, 2014 (publication)
Responsible Party USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (Point of Contact)
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Bbox East Long -122.894
Bbox North Lat 38.098
Bbox South Lat 37.940
Bbox West Long -123.094
Coupled Resource
Frequency Of Update notPlanned
Graphic Preview Description Geology and Geomorphology Offshore of Point Reyes map area.
Graphic Preview File http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/781/OffshorePointReyes/images/Geology_OffshorePointReyes.jpg
Graphic Preview Type GIF Offshore of Point Reyes map area
Licence Unless otherwise stated, all data, metadata and related materials are considered to satisfy the quality standards relative to the purpose for which the data were collected. Although these data and associated metadata have been reviewed for accuracy and completeness and approved for release by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), no warranty expressed or implied is made regarding the display or utility of the data on any other system or for general or scientific purposes, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty.
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Metadata Type geospatial
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Spatial Harvester True
Temporal Extent Begin 2006-01-01
Temporal Extent End 2010-01-01

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