Dredging operations on banks, on escarpments, and on walls of submarine canyons off southern California have shown that nodular phosphorite is the most abundant type of rock in these nondepositional environments. Approximately one-third of all the rock recovered is phosphorite. Petrographic and megascopic examination reveals that the nodules are largely formed by direct precipitation, but that they enclose some replaced material. Examination also shows that the phosphorite was probably deposited essentially in situ. Miocene Foraminifera have been identified in the nodules from many of the stations, but Recent or Pleistocene faunas have also been found in some of the phosphorite. Whereas the enclosed Miocene fauna suggests a Miocene age for most of the nodules, significant nonpaleontological data indicate that this fauna has probably been reworked into more recent deposits before enclosure in the nodules.