Seismic Evidence for a Lower-Crustal Detachment Beneath San Francisco Bay, California

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Science  02 Sep 1994:
Vol. 265, Issue 5177, pp. 1436-1439
DOI: 10.1126/science.265.5177.1436


Results from the San Francisco Bay area seismic imaging experiment (BASIX) reveal the presence of a prominent lower crustal reflector at a depth of ∼15 kilometers beneath San Francisco and San Pablo bays. Velocity analyses indicate that this reflector marks the base of Franciscan assemblage rocks and the top of a mafic lower crust. Because this compositional contrast would imply a strong rheological contrast, this interface may correspond to a lower crustal detachment surface. If so, it may represent a subhorizontal segment of the North America and Pacific plate boundary proposed by earlier thermo-mechanical and geological models.