The northern coast of the Santa Barbara Channel is a superb location to observe a petroleum system in action. The primary source rock of southern and central California – the Miocene Monterey Formation – crops out along the coast while just a few kilometers offshore, it is currently generating hydrocarbons. This results in active migration culminating in over 35 known oil and gas fields, exhumed reservoirs, and abundant natural seeps along the coast and offshore. Thus, most components and many processes of an active petroleum system can be observed along the Santa Barbara coast. This is an exceedingly youthful petroleum system that, for the most part, only began to generate hydrocarbons in the past few million years, simultaneously with acceleration of contractional tectonics. This virtual field trip will take you to sites where active or recent petroleum migration, both within and out of the Monterey Formation can be observed within fault cores and damage zones, within intercalated coarse clastic bodies, and through fractured or brecciated chert, porcelanite and dolostone beds. We hope that this virtual trip will encourage you to get out for some excellent local geologic social distancing.
Richard (Rick) Behl is Professor and Chair of the Department of Geological Sciences at California State University Long Beach, and Director of the MARS Project (Monterey And Related Sediments) industrial affiliates program. Rick earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of California (UC) San Diego, his PhD at UC Santa Cruz, and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at UC Santa Barbara. His expertise is in the sedimentology and sedimentary petrology of hemipelagic and pelagic sediments, and their relationship to climatic, oceanographic, and tectonic change. Rick’s research focuses on the Quaternary Santa Barbara Basin and the petroliferous Miocene Monterey Formation. Rick has participated in several international marine geologic expeditions, and led dozens of field trips and short-courses for schools, professional organizations, international conferences, and industry. He has written more than 50 scientific articles and one controversial book. Behl and his students have made more than 170 conference presentations at regional through international conferences. Rick was an AAPG Distinguished Lecturer, was named a Distinguished Educator and President of the AAPG-Pacific Section, a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and given lifetime Honorary Membership in the Society for Sedimentary Geology-Pacific Section.