The Greater Los Angeles Basin lies like a wedge between the Transverse Ranges on the North and the Peninsular Ranges on the south. It includes four sections; a low-lying coastal plain stretching from the Santa Monica Mountains to Newport Bay and three interior valleys. Each of these is defined by major faults and zone of hilly or even mountainous terrain. One of the interior valleys (the San Fernando Valley) is more properly considered to be a part of the Transverse Ranges, but it is included here because of the integral part it plays in the Greater Los Angeles economy. The other two inland basins are those of the San Gabriel and Santa Ana rivers. All are characterized by down-dropped structural blocks bounded by major faults, and all are characterized by deep sedimentary deposits laid down by rivers flowing principally from the Transverse Ranges. In places, the sediments are up to six miles thick. The Greater Los Angeles Basin contains more than 13,000,000 of California’s 37,000,000 residents.

A collection of unique aerial panoramas of this region may be seen in the Los Angeles Basin section of the California Atlas of Panoramic Aerial Images.