Detrital modes of middle Miocene sandstone recovered at Deep Sea Drilling Project Site 471 on the Magdalena Fan support the hypothesis that the fan has been displaced northward from a source hundreds of kilometers to the south near the present mouth of the Gulf of California. The modes are dissimilar to those of modern sand derived from onshore outcrops of Miocene volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks, Neogene sedimentary rocks, and Mesozoic subduction complex. They most closely match sand associated with the mouth of Gulf of California. The overall stratigraphy, sand composition, and diagenesis at Site 471 are consistent with deposition of the Magdalena Fan on young oceanic crust near a spreading ridge at a triple junction.

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