Middle Miocene to early Pliocene oblique extension in the southern Gulf of California
Fiona H. Sutherland et al., Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093, USA. Posted online 16 July 2012; doi: 10.1130/GES770.1.
Seismic reflection profiling reveals an early history of oblique rifting in the Gulf of California that highlights earlier detachment of Baja California away from mainland Mexico. Capture of the Baja California microplate was thought to be a two-step process that began about 12 million years ago but did not gather steam until six million years ago, when extension was focused in what we now call the Gulf of California or Sea of Cortez. New research by Fiona H. Sutherland and colleagues shows that extension focused behind Baja California began in earnest 12 million years ago and has been continuing ever since. This process of nascent rifting is similar to what is happening today in the Walker Lane deformation belt, a zone of trans-tension and shear, just east of the Sierra Nevada mountai
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