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Neogene plate-tectonic evolution of the Baja California Sur continental margin and the southern Gulf of California, Mexico

By
Jon E. Spencer
Jon E. Spencer
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William R. Normark
William R. Normark
U.S. Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Road, Menlo Park, California 94025
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Published:
January 01, 1989

Abstract

The Pacific margin of Baja California Sur was the site of plate convergence and subduction during late Mesozoic and early Cenozoic time. During the Neogene, the margin changed to a transform plate boundary as a result of either southward passage of a ridge-trench-transform triple junction, or cessation of spreading between the Pacific Plate and a small remnant of the Farallón- Guadalupe Plate. The latter possibility is preferred because a remnant of the Farallón-Guadalupe Plate, named the Magdalena Plate by Yeats and Haq (1981), appears to form the oceanic lithosphere at the foot of the continental margin off Baja California Sur. At about 5.5 Ma, the margin changed to a passive continental margin as the Baja California peninsula became part of the Pacific Plate and the modern Gulf of California began to form by rifting and transform faulting. In this chapter we briefly review theories concerning the Neogene plate-tectonic evolution of the area around the southern part of the Baja California peninsula, and review some of our own data from the Pacific continental margin of Baja California Sur that place constraints on the timing and nature of changes in plate-tectonic regimes and have implications for the existence of a Neogene embayment in the continental margin south of the tip of the Baja California peninsula. We are primarily concerned here with that period of time beginning approximately 14 Ma with cessation of subduction beneath Baja California Sur and ending approximately 5.5 Ma with formation of the modern San Andreas- Gulf of California system of strike-slip faults and spreading centers.

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DNAG, Geology of North America

The Eastern Pacific Ocean and Hawaii

E. L. Winterer
E. L. Winterer
Scripps Institution of Oceanography La Jolla, California 92093
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Donald M. Hussong
Donald M. Hussong
University of Hawaii Department of Geology and Geophysics Honolulu, Hawaii 96822
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Robert W. Decker
Robert W. Decker
4087 Silver Bar Road Mariposa, California 95338
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Geological Society of America
Volume
N
ISBN electronic:
9780813754659
Publication date:
January 01, 1989

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