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Research Technical Report

Seafloor Geology of the Monterey Bay Area Continental Shelf

Eittreim, S.L., R.J. Anima, and A.J. Stevenson (2002)

Marine Geology 181:3-34.


Acoustic swath-mapping of the greater Monterey Bay area continental shelf from Point Ano Nuevo to Point Sur reveals complex patterns of rock outcrops on the shelf, and coarse-sand bodies that occur in distinct depressions on the inner and mid-shelves. Most of the rock outcrops are erosional cuestas of dipping tertiary rocks that make up the bedrock of the surrounding lands. A mid-shelf mud belt of Holocene sediment buries the Tertiary rocks in a continuous, 6-km-wide zone on the northern Monterey Bay shelf. Rock exposures occur on the inner shelf, near tectonically uplifting highlands, and on the outer shelf, beyond the reach of the mud depositing on the mid-shelf since the Holocene sea-level rise. The sediment-starved shelf off the Monterey Peninsula and south to Point Sur has a very thin cover of Holocene sediment, and bedrock outcrops occur across the whole shelf, with Salinian granite outcrops surrounding the Monterey Peninsula. Coarse-sand deposits occur both bounded within low-relief rippled scour depressions, and in broad sheets in areas like the Sur Platform where fine sediment sources are limited. The greatest concentrations of coarse-sand deposits occur on the southern Monterey Bay shelf and the Sur shelf.

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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