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Rancho Vallecitos Formation, Baja California Norte, Mexico

By
James Reed
James Reed
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Published:
January 01, 1993

Forty kilometers south of Tecate, Baja California Norte, is an extensive area of pre–medial Cretaceous, greenschist-facies flysch, poorly exposed, and of unknown thickness. These rocks are lithocorrelative with the Triassic(?) French Valley and Julian Schist Formations and the Upper Triassic-Middle Jurassic Bedford Canyon Formation, north of the international border.

The flysch type strata of the area consist of tabular, thin- to thick-bedded subarkosic metasandstone interbedded with metapelite. Isotopic studies on detrital zircon suggest a mixed population of discordant Middle to Late Proterozoic zircon and late Paleozoic and Triassic zircon.

The flysch strata, herein named the Rancho Vallecitos Formation, is divided into a predominantly sandstone lithofacies and a predominantly shale lithofacies. Vertical sequence patterns and associations of sedimentary structures (graded bedding, outsized clasts, meniscate and diffuse laminae, etc.) indicate that the sandstones of both lithofacies were deposited by high-density turbidity currents. Rare ripple-laminated contourites of the shale lithofacies indicate deposition by northerly and southerly oriented paleocurrents.

Vertical sequence patterns of sandstone beds in the sandy lithofacies suggest deposition in the outer part of a submarine fan-like system. Features of the predominantly shale lithofacies suggest a basin-plain depositional environment. Subordinate pebbly mudstone and local olistostrome/mélange deposits of the shaly lithofacies indicate proximity to slope areas. The overall fine-grained, poorly sorted, and matrix-rich character of all the sandstones suggests deposition in a large submarine fan or cone system of unrestricted open ocean basins, characteristically fed by large river/delta systems. Modal analyses of the sandstone framework indicates sediment sources of recycled orogens and possibly craton interior.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

The Prebatholithic Stratigraphy of Peninsular California

R. Gordon Gastil
R. Gordon Gastil
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R. H. Miller
R. H. Miller
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Geological Society of America
Volume
279
ISBN print:
9780813722795
Publication date:
January 01, 1993

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