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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 75 (1991)

Issue: 8. (August)

First Page: 1353

Last Page: 1373

Title: Thin-Skinned Tectonics of the Upper Ojai Valley and Sulphur Mountain Area, Ventura Basin, California (1)

Author(s): GARY J. HUFTILE (2)


By integrating surface mapping with subsurface well data and drawing cross sections and subsurface maps, the geometry of shallow structures and their geologic history of the Upper Ojai Valley of California can be reconstructed. The geometry of shallow structures, the geologic history, and the location of earthquake foci then offer constraints on the deep structure of this complex area.

The Upper Ojai Valley is a tectonic depression between opposing reverse faults. Its northern border is formed by the active, north-dipping San Cayetano fault, which has 6.0 km of stratigraphic separation in the Silverthread area of the Ojai oil field and 2.6 km of stratigraphic separation west of Sisar Creek. The fault dies out farther west in Ojai Valley, where the south-vergent shortening is transferred to a blind thrust. The southern border of the Upper Ojai Valley is formed by the Quaternary Lion fault set (Sisar, Big Canyon, and Lion faults), which dips south and merges into the Sisar decollement within the south-dipping, ductile, lower Miocene Rincon formation. Folds with north-dipping axial planes, including the Lion Mountain anticline and Reeves syncline, are middle Pleistocen or older and are related to movement on an unnamed fault in the footwall block of the San Cayetano fault and on the San Cayetano fault, respectively. By the middle Pleistocene, the Sulphur Mountain anticlinorium and the Big Canyon syncline began forming as a fault-propagation fold; the fault-propagation fold is rooted in the Sisar decollement, a passive backthrust rising from a blind thrust at depth. The formation of the Sulphur Mountain anticlinorium was followed closely by the ramping of the south-dipping Lion fault set to the surface over the nonmarine upper Pleistocene Saugus Formation. To the east, the San Cayetano fault overrides and folds the Lion fault set near the surface. Area-balancing of the deformation shows shortening of 15.5 km, and suggests a 17 km depth to the brittle-d ctile transition.

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