Biostratigraphic ages determined by planktic coccoliths and benthic foraminifera for the same core samples from the California Continental Borderland suggest that a significant overlap exists among provincial Miocene stages of California and that some of the benthic foraminifera commonly used to recognize these stages are time-transgressive. For example, samples assigned to the middle Miocene Discoaster exilis Zone of coccoliths (∼ 14 ± 1 m.y.) are also assigned to the Relizian, Luisian, and lower Mohnian Stages on the basis of benthic foraminifera. Significantly, most past and current geologic interpretations of Cenozoic marine sequences in California rely heavily on provincial benthic foraminiferal stages and zones. Thus, the apparent overlapping of provincial stages has serious implications for geologic studies of the California Cenozoic and should be further investigated in sections onshore.

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