Abstract

The Rodgers Creek–Maacama fault system in the northern California Coast Ranges (United States) takes up substantial right-lateral motion within the wide transform boundary between the Pacific and North American plates, over a slab window that has opened northward beneath the Coast Ranges. The fault system evolved in several right steps and splays preceded and accompanied by extension, volcanism, and strike-slip basin development. Fault and basin geometries have changed with time, in places with younger basins and faults overprinting older structures. Along-strike and successional changes in fault and basin geometry at the southern end of the fault system probably are adjustments to frequent fault zone reorganizations in response to Mendocino Triple Junction migration and northward transit of a major releasing bend in the northern San Andreas fault.

The earliest Rodgers Creek fault zone displacement is interpreted to have occurred ca. 7 Ma along extensional basin-forming faults that splayed northwest from a west-northwest proto-Hayward fault zone, opening a transtensional basin west of Santa Rosa. After ca. 5 Ma, the early transtensional basin was compressed and extensional faults were reactivated as thrusts that uplifted the northeast side of the basin. After ca. 2.78 Ma, the Rodgers Creek fault zone again splayed from the earlier extensional and thrust faults to steeper dipping faults with more north-northwest orientations. In conjunction with the changes in orientation and slip mode, the Rodgers Creek fault zone dextral slip rate increased from ∼2–4 mm/yr 7–3 Ma, to 5–8 mm/yr after 3 Ma.

The Maacama fault zone is shown from several data sets to have initiated ca. 3.2 Ma and has slipped right-laterally at ∼5–8 mm/yr since its initiation. The initial Maacama fault zone splayed northeastward from the south end of the Rodgers Creek fault zone, accompanied by the opening of several strike-slip basins, some of which were later uplifted and compressed during late-stage fault zone reorganization. The Santa Rosa pull-apart basin formed ca. 1 Ma, during the reorganization of the right stepover geometry of the Rodgers Creek–Maacama fault system, when the maturely evolved overlapping geometry of the northern Rodgers Creek and Maacama fault zones was overprinted by a less evolved, non-overlapping stepover geometry.

The Rodgers Creek–Maacama fault system has contributed at least 44–53 km of right-lateral displacement to the East Bay fault system south of San Pablo Bay since 7 Ma, at a minimum rate of 6.1–7.8 mm/yr.

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