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Pure and Applied Geophysics

, Volume 168, Issue 8–9, pp 1363–1372 | Cite as

Active Deformation along the Southern End of the Tosco-Abreojos Fault System: New Insights from Multibeam Swath Bathymetry

  • François Michaud
  • Thierry Calmus
  • Gueorgui Ratzov
  • Jean-Yves Royer
  • Marc Sosson
  • Florence Bigot-Cormier
  • William Bandy
  • Carlos Mortera Gutiérrez
Article

Abstract

The relative motion of the Pacific plate with respect to the North America plate is partitioned between transcurrent faults located along the western margin of Baja California and transform faults and spreading ridges in the Gulf of California. However, the amount of right lateral offset along the Baja California western margin is still debated. We revisited multibeam swath bathymetry data along the southern end of the Tosco-Abreojos fault system. In this area the depths are less than 1,000 m and allow a finer gridding at 60 m cell spacing. This improved resolution unveils several transcurrent right lateral faults offsetting the seafloor and canyons, which can be used as markers to quantify local offsets. The seafloor of the southern end of the Tosco-Abreojos fault system (south of 24°N) displays NW–SE elongated bathymetric highs and lows, suggesting a transtensional tectonic regime associated with the formation of pull-apart basins. In such an active tectonic context, submarine canyon networks are unstable. Using the deformation rate inferred from kinematic predictions and pull-apart geometry, we suggest a minimum age for the reorganization of the canyon network.

Keywords

Tosco-Abreojos fault seafloor morphology submarine canyon plate boundary Baja California peninsula Mexico 

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the two anonymous reviewers for their comments. We thank the crews of the R/V Marion Dufresne (MONA cruise, chief scientist Luc Beaufort), R/V Atalante (FAMEX cruise, chief scientist F. Michaud), and R/V Melville (OXMZ01MV cruise chief scientist Alexander VanGreen and MOCE05MV cruise chief scientist Dennis Clark). The two R/V Melville cruises are from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and data are available on NOAA web site. Thanks to Alexandre Dano for data processing.

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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • François Michaud
    • 1
  • Thierry Calmus
    • 2
  • Gueorgui Ratzov
    • 1
  • Jean-Yves Royer
    • 3
  • Marc Sosson
    • 1
  • Florence Bigot-Cormier
    • 1
  • William Bandy
    • 4
  • Carlos Mortera Gutiérrez
    • 4
  1. 1.Géoazur, UPMC, UNS, CNRSVillefranche sur merFrance
  2. 2.Instituto de GeologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoHermosilloMexico
  3. 3.Domaines Océaniques UMR 6538, IUEM, CNRSUniversité de BrestPlouzanéFrance
  4. 4.Instituto de GeofísicaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexico, D.F.Mexico

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