Abstract

Correlation of continental shelf-slope stratigraphy in Santa Monica Bay (southern California) with Ocean Drilling Program records for nearby slope-basin sites has illuminated the timing and scale of terrigenous sediment dispersal on margin since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Marine flooding surfaces preserved in a transgressive sequence on the Santa Monica Shelf provide a key link between base-level elevation and sediment transport across shelf. Sediment-accumulation rates at slope-basin sites were maximal ca. 15–10 ka, well after the LGM, decreased during the 12–9 ka transition from fluvial-estuarine to fully marine conditions on the shelf, and decelerated throughout the Holocene to 30%–75% of their values at the LGM. The deceleration is interpreted to manifest a landward shift in the margin depocenter with the onset of transgressive sedimentation beginning when sea level surmounted the shelf edge ca. 13 ka, as predicted by sequence-stratigraphic models. However, the records make clear that factors other than base level modulated slope-basin accumulation rates during the deglaciation.

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