A refined assessment of the paleoceanographic and tectonic influences on the deposition of the Monterey Formation in California
Application of updated diatom biochronology to the Monterey Formation and related biosiliceous rocks reveals the imprint of both global paleoclimatic/
paleoceanographic and regional tectonic events. A rise in global sea level combined with regional tectonic deepening associated with the development of the transform California margin resulted in the abrupt onset of deposition of fine-grained Monterey sediments between 18 and 16 Ma. The base of the Monterey does not mark a silica shift in diatom deposition from the North Atlantic to the North Pacific. Rather, a North Atlantic decline of diatoms after ~13 Ma and increasing divergence in nutrient levels between the North Atlantic and North Pacific between ~13 and 11 Ma, coincided with a major enhancement of diatom deposition in the Monterey Formation. A stratigraphically condensed interval of phosphate-rich sediments between 13 and 10 Ma in coastal southern California appears to have resulted from sediment starvation on offshore banks during a period of higher sea level, as inland sections commonly contain thick sequences of diatomaceous sediment. Increasing latitudinal thermal gradients in the latest Miocene, which triggered a biogenic bloom in the equatorial Pacific at 8 Ma, also lead to enhanced diatom deposition in the uppermost Monterey and overlying biosiliceous rocks. Uplift of the California coastal ranges after ~5.2 Ma resulted in an increasing detrital contribution that obscured the presence of diatoms in onshore sediments. Major reduction in coastal upwelling in the early Pliocene at ~4.6 Ma caused a drastic reduction of diatoms in sediments of offshore southern California.
|A refined assessment of the paleoceanographic and tectonic influences on the deposition of the Monterey Formation in California
|John A. Barron
|Special Papers of the Geological Society of America
|USGS Publications Warehouse
|Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center