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Campanian, Maestrichtian, and Danian strata of the northern San Joaquin portion of the Great Valley forearc basin form a complex assemblage of varied siliciclastic lithofacies derived from the Mesozoic Sierran magmatic arc to the east. Along the eastern margin of the basin, two major deltaic complexes prograded southwestward into the deeper parts of the basin and record final filling of the basin to sea level. The older deltaic complex, the Starkey Formation, is of middle Campanian to middle Maestrichtian age, reaches almost 3,000 feet thick, restricted to the subsurface, and consists of four principal stacked progradational wave-dominated deltas separated by transgressive shale intervals. The younger deltaic complex, the Garzas Formation, is of middle Maestrichtian to Danian age, is as thick as 1,750 feet, is present as a progradational sequence over the entire basin and crops out along the western flank of the basin, and is truncated by a regional post-Danian unconformity.

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