EarthWorks Geospatial Catalog

Geology: Offshore of Pacifica, California, 2010

Author(s)
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Description
This polygon shapefile depictss geologic features in the offshore area of Pacifica, California. The continental shelf within California's State waters in the Pacifica area is shallow (water depths of 0 to about 40 m) and flat continental shelf with a very gentle (less than 0.5 degrees) offshore dip. The morphology and geology of this shelf result from the interplay between local tectonics, sea-level rise, sedimentary processes, and oceanography. Tectonic influences are related to local faulting and uplift (see below). Sea level has risen about 125 to 130 m over the last about 21,000 years (for example, Lambeck and Chappel, 2001; Gornitz, 2009), leading to progressive eastward migration (a few tens of km) of the shoreline and wave-cut platform, and associated transgressive erosion and deposition (for example, Catuneanu, 2006). The Offshore of Pacifica map area is now mainly an open shelf that is subjected to full, and sometimes severe, Pacific Ocean wave energy and strong currents. Most of the offshore map area is covered by marine sediments; artificial fill (unit af) occurs only at the site of the Pacifica Pier. Given their relatively shallow depths and exposure to high wave energy, modern shelf deposits are mostly sand (unit Qms). More coarse-grained sands and gravels (units Qmss and Qmsc) are primarily recognized on the basis of bathymetry and high backscatter (Bathymetry--Offshore of Pacifica map area, California, and Backscatter--Offshore of Pacifica map area, California). Unit Qmsc occurs as nearshore bars (less than 12 m water depth) for about two kilometers north of Mussel Rock and more locally offshore Pacifica, and in two isolated patches farther offshore at about 25 m water depth. Unit Qmss forms erosional lags in features known as ârippled scour depressionsâ (for example, Cacchione and others, 1984) or âsorted bedformsâ (for example, Trembanis and Hume, 2011), at water depths of about 15 to 25 m, in contact with offshore bedrock uplifts and unit Qms. Such features are common along this stretch of the California coast where offshore sandy sediment can be relatively thin (thus unable to fill the depressions) due to both lack of sediment supply from rivers and to significant sediment erosion and offshore transport during large winter storms. Although the general areas in which both unit Qmss scour depressions and unit Qmsc bars occur are not likely to change substantially, the boundaries of the unit(s) are likely ephemeral, changing seasonally and during significant storm events. Areas where shelf sediments form thin (less than 2 m) veneers over low relief bedrock of the Franciscan Complex (see below) occur in the northern half of the map and are mapped as unit Qms/KJf. This hybrid unit is recognized and delineated based on the combination of flat relief, continuity with moderate to high relief onshore or offshore bedrock outcrops, high-resolution seismic-reflection data, and in some cases moderate to high backscatter. The thin sediment layer is regarded as ephemeral and dynamic, and may or may not be present at a specific location based on storms, seasonal to annual patterns of sediment movement, or longer-term climate cycles. In a nearby, similarly high-energy setting, Storlazzi and others (2011) have described seasonal burial and exhumation of submerged bedrock in northern Monterey Bay. Offshore bedrock exposed at the seafloor is mapped as Jurassic and Cretaceous Franciscan Complex, undivided (unit KJf); Cretaceous granite (unit Kgr); Tertiary and (or) Cretaceous rock, undivided (unit TKu); unnamed sansdstone, shale and conglomerate of Paleocene age (unit Tss); and the Upper Miocene and Pliocene Purisima Formation (unit Tp). These units are delineated by extending outcrops and trends from mapped onshore geology and from their distinctive surface textures as revealed by high-resolution bathymetry (Bathymetry--Offshore of Pacifica map area, California). Purisima Formation outcrops in the southernmost part of the offshore map area form distinctive "ribs," caused by differential erosion of variably resistant, interbedded lithologies (for example, sandstone and mudstone). In contrast, granitic rocks have a densely cross-fractured, rough surface texture, and both the Franciscan Complex and the unnamed Paleocene sedimentary unit have a more masssive, irregular, and smoother surface texture. Purisima Formation outcrops occur in water as deep as 35 m, whereas other bedrock units occur in shallower (less than 20 m) water depths, most commonly adjacent to coastal points underlain by bedrock (for example, Pedro Point and Montara Point). Map unit polygons were digitized over underlying 2-meter base layers developed from multibeam bathymetry and backscatter data. The bathymetry and backscatter data were collected between 2006 and 2010. A map which shows these data is published in Scientific Investigations Map 3302, "California State Waters Map Series--Offshore of Coal Oil Point, California." This layer is part of USGS Data Series 781.In 2007, the California Ocean Protection Council initiated the California Seafloor Mapping Program (CSMP) to create a comprehensive seafloor map of high-resolution bathymetry, marine benthic habitats and geology within the 3-nautical-mile limit of California's State Waters. CSMP has divided coastal California into 110 map blocks, each to be published individually as United States Geological Survey Open-File Reports (OFRs) or Scientific Investigations Maps (SIMs) at a scale of 1:24,000. Maps display seafloor morphology and character, identify potential marine benthic habitats and illustrate both the seafloor geology and shallow (to about 100 m) subsurface geology. Data layers for bathymetry, bathymetric contours, acoustic backscatter, seafloor character, potential benthic habitat and offshore geology were created for each map block, as well as regional-scale data layers for sediment thickness, depth to transition, transgressive contours, isopachs, predicted distributions of benthic macro-invertebrates and visual observations of benthic habitat from video cruises over the entire state. These data are intended for science researchers, students, policy makers, and the general public. This information is not intended for navigational purposes.The data can be used with geographic information systems (GIS) software to display geologic and oceanographic information. Additionally, this coverage can provide a geologic map for the public and geoscience community to aid in assessments and mitigation of geologic hazards in the coastal region and sufficient geologic information for land-use and land-management decisions both onshore and offshore. This information is not intended for navigational purposes.
Publisher
Geological Survey (U.S.)
Place(s)
California, San Mateo County (Calif.), and Pacific Ocean
Subject(s)
Geology, Geomorphology, Sediments (Geology), Marine sediments, Ocean bottom, Geoscientific Information, and Oceans
Year
2006-2010
Held by
Stanford
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This item is in the public domain. There are no restrictions on use.
Copyright
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