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Abstract

This two day field trip presents an overview of ~500 m.y. of diverse geologic history along the southwestern Sierra Nevada Foothills, with focus on several profound geologic features that distinguish this part of the western foothills. These features include (1) a highly deformed oceanic Moho section through the Kings River ophiolite, interpreted as a Carboniferous abyssal core complex; (2) Permo-Carboniferous ophiolitic mélange interpreted to have formed and been emplaced along the SW Cordilleran edge transform, along which the early Mesozoic convergent margin initiated; (3) Early Cretaceous mafic rocks of the western Sierra Nevada batholith, which also characterize much of the Great Valley basement; (4) evidence for 1000-m-scale paleo-relief of Late Cretaceous age; (5) anomalous subsidence of the Tulare subbasin of the Great Valley as an expression of ongoing mantle lithosphere delamination; and (6) the Kern arch and Kern range front epeirogenic uplift as an expression of active mantle lithosphere delamination.

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