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Southern California Geology


Geologic Setting of the Transverse Ranges Province

The Transverse Ranges Province of southern California is so-named because the mountains, valleys, and geologic structures within this province lie east-west or "transverse to" the prevailingly northwest-trending grain characteristic of southern California. For example, northwest-trending faults of the Peninsular Ranges Province lend a northwest-oriented topographic and structural grain to that province. Likewise, the Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada Provinces of southern and central California also are prevailingly northwest-trending. The Transverse Ranges lie athwart this northwest grain.

Although referred to collectively as the Transverse Ranges, the province consists of several discrete mountain ranges and intervening valleys, including:


  • The Santa Ynez and Topatopa Mountains
  • Oak Ridge and the Santa Susanna Mountains
  • Santa Clara and Simi Valleys
  • Santa Monica Mountains
  • San Gabriel Mountains
  • San Bernardino Mountains
  • Little San Bernardino Mountains
  • Pinto Mountains
  • Eagle and Cottonwood Mountains

Geologists group these discrete landforms within the Western, Central, and Eastern Transverse Ranges.

Table of Contents, Transverse Ranges Province

Western Transverse Ranges

Central Transverse Ranges

San Gabriel Mountains

Crystalline Basement Rocks

Vincent Thrust

Rocks in the Lower Plate of the Vincent Thrust

Rocks in the Upper Plate of the Vincent Thrust

San Bernardino Mountians

Eastern Transverse Ranges

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