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Abstract

Petrologic, structural, geochronologic, and geochemical data from rocks exposed in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada batholith just south of the western Foothills metamorphic belt (the Stokes Mountain region) provide new insight regarding several poorly understood aspects of the development of the compound Sierra Nevada arc. Exposures of three different metasedimentary packages together document transitions in the depositional environments present along the outboard edge of this arc segment throughout the Mesozoic Era, culminating in the emergence of the Cretaceous continental margin arc. Exposures of mafic cumulates and associated differentiates of the Early Cretaceous batholith permit investigation into the earliest stages of differentiation of depleted-mantle–derived arc magmas. Together with the surrounding Kings-Kaweah ophiolite belt, these Mesozoic plutonic and metasedimentary rocks are proposed to form an analog for the crystalline basement underlying much of the eastern half of the Great Valley forearc basin.

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