Transtensional fault-termination basins: An important basin type illustrated by the Pliocene San Jose Island basin and related basins in the southern Gulf of California, Mexico

Paul J. Umhoefer, Tobias Schwennicke, Maya T. Del Margo, Gabriela Ruiz-geraldo, James C. Ingle, William Mcintosh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations


Transtensional basins are sparsely described in the literature compared with other basin types. The oblique-divergent plate boundary in the southern Gulf of California has many transtensional basins: we have studied those on San Jose island and two other transtensional basins in the region. One major type of transtensional basin common in the southern Gulf of California region is a fault-termination basin formed where normal faults splay off of strike-slip faults. These basins suggest a model for transtensional fault-termination basins that includes traits that show a hybrid nature between classic rift and strike-slip (pull-apart) basins. The traits include combinations of oblique, strike-slip and normal faults with common steps and bends, buttress unconformities between the fault steps and beyond the ends of faults, a common facies pattern of terrestrial strata changing upward and away from the faults into marine strata, small fault blocks within the basin that result in complex lateral facies relations, common Gilbert deltas, dramatic termination of the margin of the basin by means of fault reorganization and boundary faults dying and an overall short basin history (few million years). Similar transtensional fault-termination basins are present in Death Valley and other parts of the Eastern California shear zone of the western United States, northern Aegean Sea and along ancient strike-slip faults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297-322
Number of pages26
JournalBasin Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2007


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology

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