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Scientific Investigations Map 3260

Quaternary Geologic Map of the North-Central Part of the Salinas River Valley and Arroyo Seco, Monterey County, California

By Emily M. Taylor and Donald S. Sweetkind

Thumbnail of and link to report PDF (73.4 MB)Abstract

Arroyo Seco, a perennial drainage in the central Coast Range of California, records a sequence of strath terraces. These terraces preserve an erosional and depositional history, controlled by both climate change and regional tectonics. These deposits have been mapped and correlated on the basis of field investigations, digital terrain analysis, stream gradient profiles, evaluation of published regional soil maps, and satellite imagery. Seven of the strath terraces and associated alluvial fans have been dated by optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) or infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL). The OSL and IRSL dates on seven of the strath terraces and associated alluvial fans in Arroyo Seco are approximately >120 ka, >65 ka, 51–46 ka, 36–35 ka, 9 ka, and 2–1 ka. These dates generally fall within the range of ages reported from many well-dated marine terraces on the California coast that are formed during sea-level high stands. Tectonic movements, consistently upward, result in a constantly and slowly emerging coastline, however, the regional effects of climate change and resulting eustatic sea-level rises are interpreted as the driving mechanism for erosion and aggradation in Arroyo Seco.

First posted December 9, 2014

  • Map Sheets

      Sheet 1 screen version PDF (94.6 MB)

      Sheet 1 print version PDF (150 MB)

      Sheet 2 screen version PDF (33.7 MB)

      Sheet 2 print version PDF (182 MB)

For additional information contact:
Director, Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
Box 25046, Mail Stop 980
Denver, CO 80225

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Suggested citation:

Taylor, E.M., and Sweetkind, D.S., 2014, Quaternary geologic map of the north-central part of the Salinas River Valley and Arroyo Seco, Monterey County, California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3260, 13 p., 2 sheets, scales 1:24,000 and 1:50,000,

ISSN 2329-132X (online)




Geologic Setting

Description of Strath Terraces


Discussion and Summary


Description of Map Units

References Cited

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