Abstract

A new compilation of magnetic data for the western conterminous United States and offshore areas provides significant information about crustal units and structures in the region. Features shown on the compilation include a magnetic quiet zone along the coast and two lineaments inland. The magnetic quiet zone correlates with the accretionary prism at the western edge of the North American plate and overlies subducted ocean crust; abrupt termination of ocean-floor magnetic anomalies at, or a short distance east of, the toe of the accretionary prism is an inferred effect of subduction-induced low-temperature metamorphism of the ocean crust.

The Puget Lowlands-San Joaquin lineament is an alignment of high-intensity magnetic anomalies that in the south, and possibly also in the north, are caused by bodies of mafic-ultramafic rocks accreted to North America during the Mesozoic and Tertiary. The lineup of the highs and the inferred lineup of the causative bodies may reflect fundamental structures that control Mesozoic and Tertiary evolution of the continental margin. The Mojave Desert lineament, a distinctive chain of short-wavelength magnetic anomalies in southern California, coincides partly with a zone of Mesozoic intrusions and the Cenozoic San Andreas fault system, but is likely to be older than both in origin and may reflect a Mesozoic or older crustal discontinuity.

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