These geologic maps and accompanying structure sections depict the geology and structure of much of northwestern California and the adjacent continental margin. The map area includes the Mendocino triple junction, which is the juncture of the North American continental plate with two plates of the Pacific ocean basin. The map area also encompasses major geographic and geologic provinces of northwestern California. The maps incorporate much previously unpublished geologic mapping done between 1980 and 1995, as well as published mapping done between about 1950 and 1978. To construct structure sections to mid-crustal depths, we integrate the surface geology with interpretations of crustal structure based on seismicity, gravity and aeromagnetic data, offshore structure, and seismic reflection and refraction data.
In addition to describing major geologic and structural features of northwestern California, the geologic maps have the potential to address a number of societally relevant issues, including hazards from earthquakes, landslides, and floods and problems related to timber harvest, wildlife habitat, and changing land use. All of these topics will continue to be of interest in the region, as changing land uses and population density interact with natural conditions. In these interactions, it is critical that the policies and practices affecting man and the environment integrate an adequate understanding of the geology.
This digital map database, compiled from previously published and unpublished data, and new mapping by the authors, represents the general distribution of bedrock and surficial deposits in the mapped area. Together with the accompanying text file (ceghmf.ps, ceghmf.pdf, ceghmf.txt), it provides current information on the geologic structure and stratigraphy of the area covered. The database delineates map units that are identified by general age and lithology following the stratigraphic nomenclature of the U.S. Geological Survey. The scale of the source maps limits the spatial resolution (scale) of the database to 1:100,000 or smaller.