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In the Peninsular Ranges batholith of southern California, a central belt of Jurassic metagranites was intruded by a Cretaceous magmatic arc that migrated from west to east across the belt. The Cretaceous batholith has been divided into western and eastern zones, zones that correspond to age, lithologic, geochemical, and geophysical zonations. In this study, density and magnetic susceptibility measurements performed on ~960 hand samples show that, in the eastern zone of the Peninsular Ranges batholith, values of magnetic susceptibility are uniformly low (<0.5 × 10−3 cgs [centimeter-gram-second] units), while density values are in general lower and have less scatter than those in the western zone. A relatively sharp break between western and eastern zones indicates the existence of two crustal types separated by a tectonic suture: on the west, oceanic crust (mainly Mesozoic and older mantle and mantle-derived rocks) and on the east, continental crust (Neoproterozoic, Paleozoic, and early Mesozoic rocks).

Previous studies in the San Diego County segment of the Peninsular Ranges batholith revealed petrologic distinctions between two Jurassic metagranite suites (S-type and transitional I-S type) and nine Cretaceous granite suites (exclusively I-type). The results of electron microprobe (EM) analyses of mafic minerals from Jurassic and Cretaceous plutonic rocks in general confirm plutonic suite subdivision. On biotite and hornblende variation diagrams, Early Cretaceous plutons tend to plot in distinct fields/trends that are characteristic of their various plutonic suites. Hornblende from three Early Cretaceous tonalite suites is Mg enriched, as expected from melts of mafic-intermediate composition that were H2O rich and contained hornblende as an early-crystallizing phase. Hornblende from gabbro plutons (Cuyamaca Gabbro) shows the greatest Mg enrichment for a given whole-rock SiO2 value, reflecting cumulate processes in the evolution of gabbroic magmas. Biotite and hornblende from highly evolved leucomonzogranite-leucogranodiorite plutons assigned to three leucogranite suites have the most Fe- and Mn-rich compositions.

Hornblende compositions of two Late Cretaceous tonalite suites overlap those of the Early Cretaceous tonalite suites, but, in general, Late Cretaceous hornblende does not show the extreme fractionation shown by hornblende of Early Cretaceous suites with similar SiO2 contents.

Biotite of two Jurassic plutonic suites has the most aluminous compositions of all Peninsular Ranges batholith suites, with biotite of the S-type Harper Creek suite markedly more Al rich than that of the transitional I-S–type Cuyamaca Reservoir suite. Complete overlap of Harper Creek biotite compositions with those of metasedimentary rocks of the Triassic–Jurassic Julian Schist indicates that partial melting of the latter was an appropriate source for Harper Creek magma. The existence of two Cuyamaca Reservoir biotite trends suggests that its parental magma originated by fractionation and contamination of an I-type magma by aluminous metasedimentary material, thus producing transitional I-S characteristics. All but one sample of hornblende from the Cuyamaca Reservoir suite falls in the subaluminous compositional range.

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