Abstract

The Ventura basin lies within the east-west–trending active fold-and-thrust belt of the western Transverse Ranges, California. This basin has been the site of significant earthquakes on structures within it and bordering it. The purpose of our study is to identify the main structures in the basin and its borders and to quantify their rate of deformation. Our study includes the onshore and offshore Ventura basin, the arcuate basin-bounding Oak Ridge reverse fault, and the Oxnard shelf to the south. Shortening, fault-slip, and crustal-block motions were studied using a three-dimensional map-restoration technique. Structure-contour maps on the 6 Ma surface and other horizons were digitized and restored to the initial horizontal state by unfolding them using the computer program UNFOLD and then fitting the unfolded surfaces across faults. Comparing the restored and present configuration allows us to estimate total net finite displacements relative to a fixed horizontal reference line.

Average post–5 Ma shortening rates estimated from our restoration are slower than both post–1 Ma rates and present rates determined by global positioning systems. Most shortening due to folding in the onshore basin is post–1 Ma, although slip on the Oak Ridge fault has occurred both before and after 1 Ma. Displacement due to faulting and folding includes left-lateral strike-slip motion on the northeast-southwest coastal segment of the Oak Ridge fault and associated clockwise rotation of the adjacent Ventura basin. The Oxnard shelf is bordered to the south by mountains and islands that have been previously interpreted as folds above thrust-fault ramps. This onshore-offshore block moves as one continuous thrust sheet. Similarly, beyond the well-studied onshore fault, a kinematically continuous offshore Oak Ridge–Mid-Channel left-oblique fault system is interpreted to continue at least an additional 100 km westward beneath the Santa Barbara Channel.

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