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Geology of the Pacoima Area, Los Angeles County, California


Allingham, John Wing (1948) Geology of the Pacoima Area, Los Angeles County, California. Senior thesis (Major), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/P2R8-0R25.


The Pacoima area is located on an isolated hill in the northeast section of the San Fernando, the northeast portion of the Pacoima Quadrangle, Los Angeles County, California. Within it are exposed more than 2300 feet of Tertiary rocks, which comprise three units of Middle Miocene (?) age, and approximately 950 feet of Jurassic (?) granite basement. The formations are characterized by their mode of occurrence, marine and terrestial origin, diverse lithology, and structural features.

The basement complex is composed of intrusive granite, small masses of granodiorite and a granodiorite gneiss with the development of schistosity in sections. During the long period of erosion of the metamorphics, the granitic rocks were exposed and may have provided clastic constituents for the overlying formations.

As a result of rapid sedimentation in a transitional environment, the Middle Miocene Twin Peaks formation was laid down unconformably on the granite. This formation is essentially a large thinning bed of gray to buff pebble and cobble conglomerate grading to coarse yellow sandstone. The contact of conglomerate and granite is characterized by its faulted and depositional nature.

Beds of extrusive andesite, basalt porphyry, compact vesicular amygdaloidal basalts, andesite breccia, interbedded feldspathic sands and clays of terrestial origin, and mudflow breccia comprise the Pacoima formation which overlies the Twin Peaks formation unconformably. A transgressing shallow sea accompanied settling of the region and initiated deposition of fine clastic sediments.

The marine Topanga (?) formation is composed of brown to gray coarse sandstone grading into interbedded buff sandstones and gray shales. Intrusions of rhyolitedacite and ash beds mark continued but sporatic volcanism during this period.

The area mapped represents an arch in the Tertiary sediments. Forces that produced the uplift of the granite structural high created stresses that were relieved by jointing and faulting. Vertical and horizontal movement along these faults has displaced beds, offset contacts and complicated their structure. Uplift and erosion have exposed the present sequence of beds which dip gently to the northeast. The isolated hill is believed to be in an early stage of maturity.

Item Type:Thesis (Senior thesis (Major))
Subject Keywords:Geology
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Geological and Planetary Sciences
Major Option:Geology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:May 1947
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:07022015-134459990
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:9046
Deposited On:06 Jul 2015 16:20
Last Modified:20 Dec 2019 19:59

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