Upper Cretaceous (Campanian and Maestrichtian) marine strata of the Rosario Group in the San Diego area include the Point Loma Formation and overlying Cabrillo Formation. These units contain six facies associations: (1) shelf and lagoonal sandstone, (2) slope and basin-plain(?) mudstone, (3) outer-fan lobe sandstone, (4) middle-fan channel-fill sandstone, (5) middle-and inner-fan interchannel and channel-margin thin-bedded turbidites and mudstone, and (6) inner-fan channel-fill conglomerate and sandstone.
The facies associations define a deep-sea fan deposited by westward-flowing sediment gravity flows that transported sediments derived chiefly from batholithic and prebatholithic metamorphic rocks of the Peninsular Ranges. The sedimentary basin initially deepened abruptly, partly aided by eustatic sea-level rise. The fan then prograded westward into the basin, with a retrogradational phase recorded in the uppermost part of the sequence, which is erosionally truncated by transgressive lower Eocene conglomerate.
The fan was deposited along the eastern edge of a forearc basin similar to that of the Great Valley sequence in northern California. The western part of the fan, which probably contained mostly outer-fan lobe and associated basin-plain deposits, appears to have been truncated by late Cenozoic strike-slip faulting associated with the San Andreas fault system. The fan and remnants of the western part of the basin and associated subduction complex may be present on the northwest in the Channel Islands region or still farther north.