The Sea off Southern California: A Modern Habitat of Petroleum

The Sea off Southern California: A Modern Habitat of Petroleum

The Sea off Southern California: A Modern Habitat of Petroleum

The Sea off Southern California: A Modern Habitat of Petroleum

Excerpt

During the last 120 years more than 2500 scientific articles have been published on various aspects of the sea floor, the water, and the marine life off California (Terry, 1955). Beginning about 1920 the average annual number of articles has risen from 10 to 150, owing to increased awareness of the ocean and its resources. Altogether these publications have brought the state of knowledge of the submerged area off southern California to a very high level as compared to that of any other area of the ocean having a similar size and complexity. The present knowledge has arisen through the efforts of many workers and, although certain fields of investigation have largely been confined to marine research organizations such as the Allan Hancock Foundation at the University of Southern California and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at La Jolla, other organizations have contributed. In view of the large number of articles having limited objectives, the abundance of unpublished material, and the rapidly increasing interest in marine studies and in recovery of offshore petroleum, it seems desirable to bring much of this material together in a single volume. Such a summary of information may prove helpful to other investigators working in this region. Knowledge of the interrelationships of geography and processes off southern California may also serve as a guide to what may be expected in other less well-known regions of the sea floor.

Some idea of the complexity of the marine environment is given when we realize that topography, for example, is interrelated with structure, lithology, sediments, life, and water movements. Structure has exerted a major control on topograpy through block faulting and regional warping, but the shelves along the mainland and islands were cut by waves. Erosion by boring organisms has aided the waves, particularly in shallow water. Locally, resistant rocks have remained as headlands, stacks, and small submerged hills. Thick layers of sediments have smoothed the floors of basins and prograded shores. The sediments themselves consist of rock debris, organic materials, and precipitates from water, and all are . . .

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