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Seismic Expression of Late Quaternary Banda Submarine Canyon and Fan Offshore Northern Baja California

Mark R. Legg

High-resolution seismic reflection profiles obtained throughout the inner California continental borderland offshore northwestern Baja California, Mexico, show the presence of numerous modern submarine canyons and associated fans. One set of these, the Banda submarine canyon/fan, is of relatively recent origin, as demonstrated by onlap of the basal fan sediments against an acoustically transparent, presumably hemipelagic deposit. Late Quaternary sedimentation rates inferred from isotopically dated piston core samples place the age of the postulated hemipelagic unit at approximately 650,000 years ago. The Banda submarine canyon heads within the Bahia Todos Santos and passes through a narrow gorge between Punta Banda and Islas Todos Santos. It is proposed that this submarin canyon and fan system formed entirely during late Quaternary time, following the breach of the Punta Banda ridge during a late Pleistocene high sea level stand. The presence of an ancient, buried channel exiting to the north out of Bahia Todos Santos probably marks the head of an earlier submarine canyon which acted as the conduit of clastic sediments from Valle Maneadero to the deep borderland basins. The now active Banda submarine canyon pirated the supply of terrigenous clastics from this older canyon. The active Agua Blanca fault zone cuts across the head of Banda submarine canyon, suggesting that tectonic movements may have played a role in the development of the Banda submarine canyon and fan system.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91038©1987 AAPG Annual Convention, Los Angeles, California, June 7-10, 1987.