Abstract

Graywackes of Late Jurassic to Late Cretaceous age are the predominant rocks in the northern Coast Ranges and the western Sacramento Valley provinces in California. These graywackes are similar in appearance, but their content of K-feldspar, which can be readily estimated after selective staining, differs widely. Study of several hundred specimens indicates that K-feldspar content is helpful in correlating or distinguishing these rocks, and sheds light on the geologic history of western California. In the Sacramento Valley a conformable sequence of Knoxville (Upper Jurassic), Shasta (Lower Cretaceous), and Upper Cretaceous rocks progressively increases in average K-feldspar content with decreasing age. Graywackes of the Franciscan formation, lying to the Coast Ranges farther W, generally contain no K-feldspar, although some contain a trace, and a few of more uncertain affiliation contain large amounts. Another belt of graywackes, W of the Franciscan formation and paralleling the Pacific shore, contains nearly as much K-feldspar as the Upper Cretaceous rocks of the Sacramento Valley, and most of these rocks are probably of middle Cretaceous age. The writers attribute the increase of K-feldspar with decreasing age of the rocks of the Sacramento Valley to changes in the source area, which is believed to be the Klamath Mountains and the Sierra Nevada. The changes include an increase in proportion of granitic rocks to others as the areas were stripped, and more abundant K-feldspar in the younger granitic rocks. The high K-feldspar content in the middle Cretaceous rocks of the coastal belt suggests that the rocks were deposited in the same basin as the Sacramento Valley rocks.

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