Active deformation offshore the Western Transverse Ranges
Friday, 19 December 2014: 11:20 AM
The Transverse Ranges within the structural province of southern California, an east-west trending active fold and thrust belt system, has rapid uplift rates that are capable of generating large earthquakes and tsunamis. This system to the west consists of north and south dipping reverse faults offshore Santa Barbara and Ventura (i.e., Pitas Point fault, Red Mountain fault, Rincon Creek fault). Ventura Avenue Anticline (VAA) is one of the fastest uplifting structure within this system has experienced nearly 2.7 km of structural uplift since fold initiation about 200-300 thousand years ago, yielding an average uplift rate of 9-13 mm/yr. Mapped and dated Holocene marine terraces between Ventura and Carpenteria reveal that large uplift events occurred at 0.8 ka and 1.9 ka; a recurrence interval of approximately a thousand years. The VAA trends offshore to the west and is buried by sediment from Rincon Creek. This sediment completely obscures the surficial expression of the fold between Rincon Point and Punta Gorda, indicating that Holocene sedimentation has kept pace with fold growth. Given the high sedimentation rate, each uplift event should be captured by stratigraphic rotation and onlap, and formation of angular unconformities. With that perspective, we acquired ~240 km-long very high-resolution (decimeter) CHIRP seismic reflection data from offshore Santa Barbara in the west to Ventura in the east, in order to examine discrete folding/uplift events that are preserved in the Holocene sediment record. CHIRP data together with re-processed USGS sparker profiles provide new constraints on timing and architecture of deformation offshore. A transgressive surface that dates back to ~9.5 kyr B.P is identified in seismic reflection data and dips landward; bending of the transgressive surface appears to be due to active folding and faulting. Observed onlapping sediments together with the deformation of the transgressive surface mark the onset of deformation while periods of the tectonic quiescence are recorded by progradational packages. We are able to identify 3 discrete uplift events above the transgressive surface along the VAA. Similar uplift events (3-4 events) are also observed along the Rincon Creek Fault offshore Santa Barbara.