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Middle Miocene Rosarito Beach Formation, Northwest Baja California, Mexico

Jorge Ledesma-Vasquez

The Rosarito Beach Formation was deposited on the continental borderland adjacent to the Peninsular Range province. This formation provides an insight to the paleo-oceanographic characteristics that are representative of marine sediments.

The La Mision Member consists largely of basalts more than 150 m thick, which thin to the east. There are no pillow lavas or water-laid textures associated with this member. The Los Indios Member, which overlies the La Mision, consists of a wide variety of volcaniclastic marine sediments (tuffs, lapilli tuffs, tuffaceous sandstones) and 4-m thick diatomaceous layers.

Basalts were emplaced through a series of fissures in the Mesozoic basement while the area was uplifted to the west. At the same time, the coastline receded to the east. The basalt flows that comprise the La Mision Member and the overlying pyroclastics were deposited at the same time that the coastline was moving east and the entire area was being faulted, building horst and graben structures (continental borderland).

The diatomaceous sediments were deposited on this new shallow area associated with upwelling and an oxygen minimum layer, and were reinforced by the presence of grabens, which acted as silled basins. The silicic microfossils indicate a mixed environment of outer and inner shelves on a shallow platform no deeper than 200 m.

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