Arroyo Blanco Basin on Isla Carmen preserves a 157 m thick, nearly complete record of Pliocene–Pleistocene history in the Gulf of California. Examples of rocky-shore geomorphology occur on all margins of this trapezoidal-shaped, 3.3 km2 basin. A shoreline is developed in low relief on Miocene andesite from the Comondú Group at the rear of the basin parallel to the long axis of the island. Two end walls trace normal faults that stayed active during the life of the basin and maintained steep rocky shores. The basin is 64% filled by calcarudite and calcarenite derived from crushed rhodolith debris. Other facies include shell beds and stringers of andesite conglomerate that define a 4°–6° ramp. The ramp expanded onshore through Pliocene time, based on a succession of overlapping range zones for 22 macrofossils typical of Lower through Upper Pliocene strata in the Gulf of California. The unconformity exposed 1 km inland at the rear of the basin is between Miocene volcanics and Pleistocene cap rock at an elevation of 170 m above sea level. Whole rhodoliths encrusted on andesite pebbles occur above this unconformity. Presumably, the older Miocene–Pliocene unconformity is buried beneath the ramp. Four marine terraces with sea cliffs notched in Pliocene limestone occur at elevations of 68, 58, 37, and 12 m. The 12 m terrace is associated regionally with the last interglacial epoch between 120 000 and 135 000 years ago. Juxtaposition of ramp and terrace features in the same exhumed basin supports a long history of gradual Pliocene subsidence followed by episodic Pleistocene uplift.

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