US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Quaternary Coasts of the United States Marine and Lacustrine Systems, SEPM Special Publication No 48 (1995)


U.S. government work


Amino acid and oxygen isotope data for fossils from terraces of the Palos Verdes Hills and San Pedro areas in Los Angeles County California shed new light on the ages of terraces sea level history marine paleotemperatures and late Quaternary tectonics in this region Low terraces on the Palos Verdes peninsula correlate with the 80 ka and 125 ka sea level highstands that are also recorded as terraces on other coasts In San Pedro the Palos Verdes sand the deposit on what is mapped as the first terrace by Woodring and others 1946 was previously thought to be a single deposit amino acid oxygen isotope V series and faunal data indicate that deposits of two ages representing the 80 ka and l25 ka high stands occur within this unit Oxygen isotope data show that on open exposed parts of the Palos Verdes peninsula ocean waters during the l25 ka highstand were cooler than present by about 2 3 2 60C similar to what has been reported for other exposed coastal areas in California In contrast in the protected embayment environment around San Pedro water temperatures during the 125 ka highstand were as warm or warmerthan present During the 80 ka highstand water temperatures were significantly cooler than present even in the relatively protected embayment environment of the San Pedro area Late Quaternary tectonic uplift rates can be calculated from terrace ages and elevations Correlation of the lowest terraces around the Point Fermin area shows that the Cabrillo fault has a late Quaternary vertical movement rate of 0 20 m ka based on the difference in uplift rates on the upthrown and downthrown sides of the fault Elsewhere in the Palos Verdes Hills San Pedro area late Quaternary uplift rates vary from 0 32 m ka to possibly as high as 0 72 m ka These rates which reflect vertical movement on the Palos Verdes fault are in broad agreement with estimated Holocene vertical rates of movement determined for offshore portions of the fault