Current Abstract

November 12, 2019 Dinner Meeting Abstract

“On the source-to-sink relationships of the Capistrano Formation, onshore and offshore Orange County, California

Presented by: Daniel E. Schwartz, LLC, Bakersfield, CA


Previous studies of the source-to-sink system of the Capistrano Formation focused on the provenance of clasts and sedimentology within the San Juan Creek catchment area, analysis of clasts and sedimentary fill sequences in the catchment and in outcrops at Dana Point Harbor, and log interpretations from onshore wells. Recent analysis of 1960’s vintage 2D reflection seismic from offshore Dana Point and San Clemente further supports a connection between the modern-San Juan Creek Watershed in Orange County, California which provided sediments that are now exposed in Mio-Pliocene Capistrano Formation at Dana Point Harbor; and seismically and well-log-data constrained submarine fan lobe deposits in the Capistrano Embayment of the Southern California Borderlands.

The Dana Point Harbor section of the Capistrano is a channelized gorge-fill deposit fed by traction and debris flows sourced from the 456 square kilometer proto-San Juan Creek catchment. These deposits are envisioned to feed a partially seismically characterized channelized submarine fan which ranges in size from 215 sq. km. to in excess of 745 sq. km. A likely size for the fan is ~366 sq. km. area extent. The fan has a maximum thickness of ~3500m (~1.0 second two way travel time) and pinches out northward and westward as it onlaps the structurally complex floor of a rifted and faulted forearc basin. Based on the seismic, the furthest extent of the fan does not exceed the modern bathymetric transition from toe-of-slope to basin floor.

The Capistrano source-to-sink system fits the global source to sink relationship of Somme et al., 2009, plotting catchment area versus fan area. The Capistrano varies from the Romans and Graham, 2013 source to sink model as there is no evidence for deltaic sedimentation up-channel from the Dana Point sections, the Mio-Pliocene shelf is quite narrow, the slope is steep, and the canyon is fault bounded.


Dan is the principal and owner of his own contract company, Daniel E. Schwartz, LLC, which he founded following an exciting career with over 40 years working in numerous basins throughout the world while at Shell and Aera. He is well known and highly respected in the San Joaquin Basin for leading various geological field trips to view outcrops of analogs to oil and gas reservoirs currently developed throughout California and offering his expertise and technical assurance for many major projects from both the Petroleum Engineering and Geological viewpoints. Dan’s acumen for strategic business development, managing exploration and exploitation activities, and assessing the value of industry opportunities has allowed others to harness his knowledge through consultation and myriad publications, presentations, posters, course offerings and volunteer activities within the community. Additionally, Dan, with his wife Cynthia, is a great friend to the SJGS community, gracefully hosting our Fall Fiesta at his beautiful home, donating his time and energy to planning and leading field trips, and offering council to the executive committee when requested. In his spare time, Dan is actively involved in the vintage automobile racing association and historic motor sport association.

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