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Heat flow and thermotectonic problems of the central Ventura Basin, southern California

January 1, 1989

The Ventura Basin, southern California, is located near the Big Bend area of the San Andreas fault system, within the Transverse Ranges physiographic province. Continuous equilibrium temperature logs were measured in 12 idle oil wells located within the onshore Ventura Avenue, San Miguelito, Filmore, Oxnard, and West Montalvo fields to an average depth of about 3100 m (10,200 feet). Thermal conductivities were measured on all available samples. Heat flows were calculated with the aid of a thermostratigraphic scheme based on correlative gradient intervals and average thermal conductivity for the appropriate units. Negative curvature of the Ventura Avenue temperature profiles may be explained by an increase in thermal conductivity associated with tectonic compaction of the underlying Pliocene clastic sequence. Temperature profiles at Fillmore are enigmatic but suggest highly unusual geotectonic conditions. Basinwide, heat flow averages about 48 mW/m2, a value which is low relative to most of southern California. As heat flow does not vary systematically to the maximum measured depth of about 4 km, this anomaly is not easily explained in terms of hydrologic effects or recent uplift and erosion. However, a diminution of heat flow is an expectable consequence of the accumulation of cold sediments (up to 12 km) since Eocene time. If 70 mW/m2 is accepted as the background heat flow, then the sedimentation effect is probably sufficient to explain the anomaly.

Publication Year 1989
Title Heat flow and thermotectonic problems of the central Ventura Basin, southern California
DOI 10.1029/JB094iB01p00681
Authors R. F. De Rito, A. H. Lachenbruch, T. H. Moses, R. J. Munroe
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth
Index ID 70016406
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse