Relative dating of rock strata

About 41 million years ago, the area began to be slowly uplifted as the accretionary wedge formed.In the eastern parts of the area, the uppermost Franciscan includes the Yager Terrane which consists of submarine fan channels laid down at about 28 to 30 degrees North latitude.Some are intensely deformed in shear zones along the numerous faults in the area (Woodward-Clyde, 1980).Temperatures were higher then than now; whatever killed the dinosaurs was not climate change as all paleoclimate indicators stay relatively steady over the 65 million year ago boundary between the Mesozoic and the Cenozoic (Mackenzie, 1998: 357).Uplift continued and great quantities of sediment were washed down into the bay and the offshore area (Stanley, 1995).In some parts of the Humboldt Bay area, the Franciscan Complex is unconformably overlain by Miocene-age Bear River beds; in other parts, the Pliocene Pullen Formation lies atop the unconformity (Stanley, 1995).The oldest rocks in the Humboldt Bay area are the Franciscan Complex.The Franciscan is composed of metamorphic rocks and ranges in age from Middle Jurassic to Cretaceous, into the Tertiary, finally ending about 24 million years ago in the Miocene.

The sediments near the Bear River have mollusks that show the environment was a shelf or an inner slope and may indicate an early Pliocene regression (Mc Laughlin et al., 2000).At Scotia, the bottom of the Pullen Formation unconformably overlies folded Yager terrane (Mc Laughlin et al., 2000).Next up column is the Eel River Formation which has dark gray to black mudstones, siltstones and sandstones (Woodward-Clyde, 1980).The area is considered to be a part of California Geomorphic Province called the Coast Ranges.The Humboldt Bay Area goes from the mouth of the Mattole River north to Gyon Point, and east to a line between Orick and Scotia Bluffs.

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