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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 65 (1981)

Issue: 5. (May)

First Page: 908

Last Page: 908

Title: Late Cenozoic Paleoclimatic and Paleotectonic Setting for Hydrocarbon Formation in Southern California: ABSTRACT

Author(s): L. H. Burckle, C. D. Ninkovich, J. J. Gallagher, Jr.

Article Type: Meeting abstract


The Miocene formation of hydrocarbons in southern California is synchronous with high phytoplankton accumulation and subduction of the Farallon-Pacific spreading ridge. In North Pacific piston and DSDP cores, there is an increase in the amount of biogenic opal (largely phytoplankton) in middle to upper Miocene deep-sea sediments. A similar increase in phytoplankton accumulation is recorded in sediments from neritic environments in California, Japan, and Java. This increased accumulation is related to growth of the east Antarctic ice sheet, as inferred from the oxygen isotope climatic curve and specific biotic indicators of cooling water in deep-sea cores. The relation of hydrocarbon formation to phytoplankton accumulation and subduction of a spreading ridge is demonstrate by comparing time-slice maps showing variations in the pattern of phytoplankton accumulation with maps of paleotectonics and paleogeography of California. Moreover, this comparison demonstrates a close correlation of middle and late Miocene climatic events to sea level changes. Using southern California as a model, it is proposed that Miocene subduction of the Farallon-Pacific ridge played a role in producing the heat for formation of hydrocarbons from phytoplankton in marginal basins.

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Copyright 1997 American Association of Petroleum Geologists