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Miocene Tectono-Stratigraphic History of La Mision Basin, Northwestern Baja California: Implications for Early Tectonic Development of Southern California Continental Borderland

James R. Ashby, John Minch

The middle Miocene La Mision basin in northwestern Baja California, Mexico, provides a rare opportunity to study an onshore portion of the southern California continental borderland. Stratigraphy, geometry of dispersal, and a variety of lithotypes within the volcanic and volcaniclastic sediments of the Rosarito Beach Formation provide clues to the nature of early tectonic evolution of this area during the Miocene. The elongated, trough-shaped La Mision basin formed in response to peninsular basement uplifts and the formation of volcanic highlands west of the present coastline. Lithologies and depositional environments represented within the basin sediments include: subaerial basalt flows and airfall tuffs, submarine muddy- and sandy-matrix mudflow breccias, lapilli tuffs, crystal tuffs, tuffaceous sandstones, diatomites, and conglomerates. The environments of deposition range from fluvatile to intertidal to shallow marine.

Early basin infilling is characterized by sediments and basalts, with a western source terrane, that were deposited against the faulted seacliffs. Progressive infilling against the seacliff resulted in the formation of an extensive eastward-sloping basaltic platform extending eastward to the foothill coastal belt of the Peninsular Ranges. Marine transgression and subsequent regression are recorded by diverse marine volcaniclastic lithologies. Abundant fossils, K-Ar dates, and paleomagnetic data obtained from the La Mision basin allow precise correlation with other areas in the continental borderland and provide conclusive evidence that this block of the borderland was formed and in its present position by 16-14 Ma.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91035©1988 AAPG-SEPM-SEG Pacific Sections and SPWLA Annual Convention, Santa Barbara, California, 17-19 April 1988.