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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 71 (1987)

Issue: 4. (April)

First Page: 452

Last Page: 463

Title: Nicolas and Eel Submarine Fans, California Continental Borderland

Author(s): Suzanne Reynolds, Donn S. Gorsline (2)


Nicolas and Eel Submarine Fans occur in the San Nicolas basin--an outer basin of the California continental borderland that has a low sedimentation rate. Nicolas Fan lies southeast of San Nicolas Island and the broad San Nicolas Bank. The upper fan is characterized by numerous channels. The midfan region may be divided into three distinct areas: a central midfan and two subfans. The central midfan depositional system is typical of Normark's suprafan. The subfans are essentially flat, sandy lobes. Eel Fan lies west of San Clemente Island and is fed by an erosional valley. Its midfan region may also be characterized as a flat, sandy lobe. Box-core data show that Holocene turbidity currents have occurred on the central Nicolas Fan, whereas the subfans and Eel Fan are nearly nactive. The local tectonic regime influences these fans by determining slope trends, creating bathymetric obstacles, controlling canyon location, and triggering mass movements. Sea level changes affect sedimentation patterns of the fans by increasing the mean grain size and the amount of sediment delivered to the fan during lowstands. These changes may, in turn, affect the morphology of the fan. The characteristics of these fans represent variations of the generalized fan models described in the literature.

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