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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011–1036

Isostatic Gravity Map of the Point Sur 30' x 60' Quadrangle and Adjacent Areas, California

By J.T. Watt, R.L. Morin, and V.E. Langenheim


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This isostatic residual gravity map is part of a regional effort to investigate the tectonics and water resources of the central Coast Range. This map serves as a basis for modeling the shape of basins and for determining the location and geometry of faults in the area. Local spatial variations in the Earth's gravity field (after removing variations caused by instrument drift, earth-tides, latitude, elevation, terrain, and deep crustal structure), as expressed by the isostatic anomaly, reflect the distribution of densities in the mid- to upper crust, which in turn can be related to rock type. Steep gradients in the isostatic gravity field often indicate lithologic or structural boundaries. Gravity highs reflect the Mesozoic granitic and Franciscan Complex basement rocks that comprise both the northwest-trending Santa Lucia and Gabilan Ranges, whereas gravity lows in Salinas Valley and the offshore basins reflect the thick accumulations of low-density alluvial and marine sediment. Gravity lows also occur where there are thick deposits of low-density Monterey Formation in the hills southeast of Arroyo Seco (>2 km, Marion, 1986). Within the map area, isostatic residual gravity values range from approximately -60 mGal offshore in the northern part of the Sur basin to approximately 22 mGal in the Santa Lucia Range.

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Contact Information
Western Region Geology and Geophysics Science Center—Menlo Park
U.S. Geological Survey
345 Middlefield Road, MS-989
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3591

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Suggested citation:

Watt, J.T., Morin, R.L., and Langenheim, V.E., 2011, Isostatic gravity map of the Point Sur 30' x 60' quadrangle and adjacent areas, California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2011-1036, scale 1:100,000 and database.

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