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Twenty-four samples were collected from prebatholithic metasedimentary rocks along Searl Ridge, the north rim of the Diamond Valley Reservoir, Domenigoni Valley, centrally located in the northern Peninsular Ranges of southern California. These rocks exhibit progressive metamorphism from west to east across fundamental structural discontinuities now referred to as a “transition zone.” Documented structural and mineralogical changes occur across this metamorphic gradient. Sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe–reverse geometry (SHRIMP-RG) U-Pb ages were obtained from detrital zircons from metasedimentary rocks through the transition zone. To the west, metapelitic and minor metasandstone units yielded numerous concordant 206Pb/238U ages between 210 and 240 Ma, and concordant 207Pb/206Pb ages at 1075–1125 Ma, 1375–1430 Ma, and 1615–1735 Ma, although distinct differences in provenance were noted between units. A few older 207Pb/206Pb ages obtained were ca. 2250 Ma and ca. 2800 Ma. Rocks of the eastern part of the transition zone include high-grade paragneisses that yielded numerous concordant 206Pb/238U ages between 103 and 123 Ma and between 200 and 255 Ma, and concordant 207Pb/206Pb ages at 1060–1150 Ma, 1375–1435 Ma, and 1595–1710 Ma. Some zircon results from these high-grade gneisses are marked by distinct Pb-loss discordia with lower-intercept ages of ca. 215 Ma and Paleoproterozoic upper-intercept ages. Younger ages between 100 and 105 Ma are mainly obtained from rims of some zircon grains that are characterized by low Th/U values (<0.1) and high U contents (>1000 ppm), indicating the likelihood of metamorphic zircon growth at that time. The similarity of zircon age populations between western and eastern units through the transition zone indicates that this fundamental structure probably dissects sediments of the same basin. This supposition is further supported by initial whole-rock Pb-Sr-Nd isotopic data that show similar average initial 206Pb/204Pb (18.65 to 18.9), 87Sr/86Sr (0.713 to 0.718), and εNd (−7 to −12) values for both the western and eastern units—values that also indicate the presence of significantly older crustal material in their provenance.

Magmatic zircons from a diorite dike that crosscuts the foliation, but is itself subsequently metamorphosed, yielded a SHRIMP-RG concordia age of 103.3 ± 0.73 Ma, which is within agreement of an isotope dilution–thermal ionization mass spectrometry (ID-TIMS) U-Pb age of 103.37 ± 0.25 Ma. A postmetamorphic, cross-cutting pegmatite yielded discordant U-Pb zircon age data, but euhedral, glassy monazite from the pegmatite yielded a slightly discordant 207Pb/235U age of 101.85 ± 0.35 Ma and a Th-Pb age of 97.53 ± 0.18 Ma, suggesting that this pegmatite was injected during or just after deformation ceased. The age and initial Pb-Sr-Nd signature for the dioritic dike indicate it was produced during the transition zone plutonism elsewhere in the northern Peninsular Ranges batholith, whereas the pegmatitic dike was derived from crustal anatexis.

Collectively, these results indicate that this sequence of metasedimentary rocks was derived from mainly a Late Permian to Early Triassic igneous provenance that probably intruded Proterozoic crust. The sequence was subsequently metamorphosed during deformation of the Cretaceous continental margin at ca. 105 to 97 Ma.

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