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Within the duration of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)–based Southern California Areal Mapping Project (SCAMP), many samples from the northern Peninsular Ranges batholith were studied for their whole-rock radioisotopic systematics (rubidium-strontium [Rb-Sr], uranium-thorium-lead [U-Th-Pb], and samarium-neodymium [Sm-Nd]), as well as oxygen (O), a stable isotope. The results of three main studies are presented separately, but here we combine them (>400 analyses) to produce a very complete Pb-Sr-Nd-O isotopic profile of an arc-continent collisional zone—perhaps the most complete in the world. In addition, because many of these samples have U-Pb zircon as well as argon mineral age determinations, we have good control of the timing for Pb-Sr-Nd-O isotopic variations.

The ages and isotopic variations help to delineate at least four zones across the batholith from west to east—an older western zone (126–108 Ma), a transitional zone (111–93 Ma), an eastern zone (94–91 Ma), and a much younger allochthonous thrust sheet (ca. 84 Ma), which is the upper plate of the Eastern Peninsular Ranges mylonite zone. Average initial 87Sr/86 Sr (Sri), initial 206Pb/204Pb (206 Pbi), initial 208Pb/204Pb (average 208Pbi), initial epsilon Nd (average εNdi), and δ18O signatures range from 0.704, 18.787, 38.445, +3.1, and 4.0‰–9.0‰, respectively, in the westernmost zone, to 0.7071, 19.199, 38.777, −5, and 9‰–12‰, respectively, in the easternmost zone. The older western zone is therefore the more chemically and isotopically juvenile, characterized mostly by values that are slightly displaced from a mantle array at ca. 115 Ma, and similar to some modern island-arc signatures. In contrast, the isotopic signatures in the eastern zones indicate significant amounts of crustal involvement in the magmatic plumbing of those plutons. These isotopic signatures confirm previously published results that interpreted the Peninsular Ranges batholith as a progressively contaminated magmatic arc. The Peninsular Ranges batholith magmatic arc was initially an oceanic arc built on Panthalassan lithosphere that eventually evolved into a continental margin magmatic arc collision zone, eventually overriding North American cratonic lithosphere. Our Pb-Sr-Nd data further suggest that the western arc rocks represent a nearshore or inboard oceanic arc, as they exhibit isotopic signatures that are more enriched than typical mid-ocean-ridge basalt (MORB). Isotopic signatures from the central zone are transitional and indicate that enriched crustal magma sources were becoming involved in the northern Peninsular Ranges batholith magmatic plumbing. As the oceanic arc–continental margin collision progressed, a mixture of oceanic mantle and continental magmatic sources transpired. Magmatic production in the northern Peninsular Ranges batholith moved eastward and continued to tap enriched crustal magmatic sources. Similar modeling has been previously proposed for two other western margin magmatic arcs, the Sierra Nevada batholith of central California and the Idaho batholith.

Calculated initial Nd signatures at ca. 100 Ma for Permian–Jurassic and Proterozoic basement rocks from the nearby San Gabriel Mountains and possible source areas along the southwestern Laurentian margin of southern California, southwestern Arizona, and northern Sonora strongly suggest their involvement with deep crustal magma mixing beneath the eastern zones of the Peninsular Ranges batholith, as well as farther east in continental lithospheric zones.

Last, several samples from the allochthonous, easternmost upper-plate zone, which are considerably younger (ca. 84 Ma) than any of the rocks from the northern Peninsular Ranges batholith proper, have even more enriched average Sri, 206Pbi, 208Pbi, and εNdi signatures of 0.7079, 19.344, 38.881, and −6.6, respectively, indicative of the most-evolved magma sources in the northern Peninsular Ranges batholith and similar to radioisotopic values for rocks from the nearby Transverse Ranges, suggesting a genetic connection between the two.

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