Abstract High-resolution, 24-channel seismic-reflection data show a stratified synform beneath south San Francisco Bay. These seismic-reflection data reveal an eastward-dipping bedrock surface that is about 40 m deep (subbottom) beneath the western south bay, and that reaches a maximum observed depth of 500–800 m (subbottom) below the eastern half of the south bay. An angular unconformity cuts both the synform and underlying bedrock. The age of the unconformity is unknown but may be Pleistocene, when these strata forming the synform were presumably exposed subaerially during lowered sea levels. The synformal strata, the unconformity, and some generally flat-lying and overlying strata are folded near the eastern shore of the bay. This folding may result from movement on the Hayward fault ( fault interactions and localized strain partitioning) or from compressional deformation in the East Bay Hills related to NE–SW (fault-normal) convergence between the Pacific and North American plates. In general, reflections from sediment overlying the unconformity are flat lying (except near the eastern shore of the bay), whereas reflections beneath the unconformity dip eastward. The overlying, flat sediment section fills a shallow basin that is coincident with an elliptical residual gravity low. This low appears to be related to the deeper sedimentary, synformal section based on the spatial correlation between the east-dipping reflections and the gravity anomaly. Projecting the east-dipping reflections to the center of the gravity low suggests that the total section of flat-lying and dipping reflections in the synform may exceed 1000 m. Modeling of the gravity low suggests a total low-density section, about 1.5 km thick, at the center of the synform relative to the surrounding bedrock of presumed Franciscan Complex.