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The Mendocino crustal conveyor: Making and breaking the California crust

January 1, 2003

The northward migration of the Mendocino triple junction has resulted in a fundamental modification of the crust of coastal California. As a consequence of viscous coupling between the southern edge of the Gorda slab and the base of the North American crust beneath the Coast Ranges of central and northern California, the crust of coastal California was first thickened and then thinned. This viscous coupling and ephemeral crustal thickening has produced a distinctive pattern of uplift that allows us to map the three-dimensional extent of crustal modification. This pattern of crustal deformation has combined with the strain field of the developing San Andreas fault system to produce the observed pattern of near-surface deformation. The rapid rise in heat flow south of the triple junction observed in the northern Coast Ranges is a direct consequence of development and removal of the crustal welt that migrated with the triple junction.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2003
Title The Mendocino crustal conveyor: Making and breaking the California crust
DOI 10.2747/0020-6814.45.9.767
Authors K.P. Furlong, J. Lock, C. Guzofski, J. Whitlock, H. Benz
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title International Geology Review
Index ID 70025132
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse