Chapter 14: Middle Cretaceous silicic metavolcanic rocks in the Kings Canyon area, central Sierra Nevada, California
Published:January 01, 1990
Jason B. Saleeby, Ronald W. Kistler, Samuel Longiaru, James G. Moore, Warren J. Nokleberg, 1990. "Chapter 14: Middle Cretaceous silicic metavolcanic rocks in the Kings Canyon area, central Sierra Nevada, California", The Nature and Origin of Cordilleran Magmatism, J. Lawford Anderson
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Metamorphosed silicic volcanic and hypabyssal rocks of middle Cretaceous (110 to 100 Ma) age occur in two roof pendants in the Kings Canyon area of the central Sierra Nevada. The metavolcanic remnants are similar in age to or are only slightly older than the voluminous enclosing batholithic rocks. Thus, high to surface levels of the batholith are implied for this region. This is interesting considering that deep-level (∼25 km) batholithic rocks of the same age as the metavolcanic rocks occur at the southern end of the range. Apparent structural continuity between these two regions suggests that the southern half of the range offers an oblique section through young (˜100 Ma) sialic crust.
The middle Cretaceous ages of the two volcanic sequences are indicated by U/Pb zircon and Rb/Sr bulk-rock isochron data. The two isotopic systems agree very closely with one another. Some of the U/Pb systems within the Boyden Cave pendant are discordant due to the inheritance or entrainment of Proterozoic zircon. This is a common phenomenon in volcanic or plutonic rocks erupted or emplaced within the Kings sequence metamorphic framework, a belt of distinct pendants with abundant continent-derived sedimentary protoliths. In conjunction with other petrochemical parameters, lavas and magmas of this framework domain are shown to be contaminated with sedimentary admixtures. The contaminated domain of the batholith reflects the bounds of the Kings sequence framework, which along its eastern margin probably represents a major pre-batholith to early batholith tectonic break.
The middle Cretaceous metavolcanic sequences were apparently built on two distinctly different early Mesozoic substrates separated by a major tectonic break. In the Boyden Cave pendant, the substrate may be represented by the shallow to deep-marine Kings sequence; to the east in the Oak Creek pendant, the substrate consists of a thick silicic ignimbrite sequence. In both areas the middle Cretaceous rocks and adjacent sequences share intense ductile deformation fabrics. Earlier views that considered these fabrics as an expression of Jurassic orogenic deformation are in error. Structural and age relations indicate that the fabrics developed between 105 and 100 Ma and during the medial phases of Cretaceous composite batholith growth.