A Quaternary deformation pattern revealed by new sub-bottom acoustic profiles supplements previous knowledge derived chiefly from magnetic and seismic evidence on the contemporary tectonics off northern California. An inferred age for the sedimentary cover along the axis of the southern part of Gorda Rise suggests that no volcanism has occurred along that part of the rise for more than 100,000 years. Sea-floor spreading at the rise crest has been accommodated by sinking of a keystone block that forms the floor of Escanaba Trough, the median valley of the rise. Differential movement between Pacific and American tectonic plates could have caused the deformation pattern, and during this movement, the displacement offshore beyond the northwest end of the San Andreas fault is inferred to have divided at Cape Mendocino between a fault along Mendocino Ridge and a fault segment that connects with the Blanco fault farther northwest.

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