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Geology and tectonic history of the Gulf of California

By
Peter Lonsdale
Peter Lonsdale
Marine Physical Laboratory of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, California 92093
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Published:
January 01, 1989

Abstract

The Gulf of California, or Sea of Cortez, is an arm of the Pacific 100 to 150 km wide between the Mexican mainland and the 1,200-km-long peninsula of Baja California. The gulf waters flood part of a structural depression that was formed by detachment and oblique separation of the peninsula from the continent, and is occupied by the Pacific-North America plate boundary. The gulf structural province, defined as the complex trough left in the wake of the northwest-drifting peninsula, extends beyond the hydrographic limits of the gulf. In the south, the continental margin conjugate to the rifted tip of Baja California is in the vicinity of the Tres Marias Islands, well outside the gulf proper. Marine geologic and geophysical data across the East Pacific Rise in this "mouth of the gulf' region are reviewed because they prove to be critical for determining the initiation and tectonic evolution of the entire province. At the northern "head of the gulf," the delta of the Colorado River has extended across the structural depression and isolated the Salton Trough, part of the gulf province now exposed as dry land (except for the artificial Salton Sea), though much of it is below sea level. The Colorado delta is bisected by the Untied States-Mexico border; the gulf north of the "midriff islands," which congest it near lat 29°N, is politically part of the internal waters of Mexico, and the remainder is within the exclusive economic zone of Mexico.

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Contents

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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