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Retrodeformable Cross Sections and Oak Ridge Fault, Ventura Basin, California

Robert S. Yeats, Gary F. Huftile

A retrodeformable (balanced) cross section is constructed such that stratified rocks are restored to their undeformed state without loss or gain of bed length or bed thickness. Ductile strata may be area-balanced if original thickness is known. Near Ventura, folds in Pliocene-Pleistocene turbidites and Miocene-early Pliocene shales (Rincon, Monterey, Sisquoc) overlie an unfolded competent Paleogene sequence. The basal decollement of the foldbelt is in the ductile Rincon Formation (lower Miocene). The overlying Sulphur Mountain, Ventura Avenue, San Miguelito, and Rincon anticlines are fault-propagation folds developing from south-dipping, largely late Quaternary frontal ramp thrusts (Sisar-Big Canyon-Lion fault set, Barnard fault set, Padre Juan fault, and C-3 fault, respe tively) that rise from the decollement. Cross-section balancing shows that the overlying fold-thrust belt has shortened 2.5-6 km more than subjacent Paleogene competent strata. This excess bed length is taken up in the Paleogene sequence on the Oak Ridge fault as a ramp from the brittle-plastic transition zone through the upper crust. This implies that the basal decollement is the frontal active thrust of the Oak Ridge fault. The decollement dies out southeast of a line between Timber Canyon oil field and the west end of Oak Ridge, possibly because of decreased ductility in the Miocene decollement sequence due to appearance of sandstone interbeds. Farther southeast, late Quaternary displacement concentrated on the Oak Ridge fault itself at rates greater than 10 mm/year.

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