Abstract

Pegmatite dikes in the Peninsular Ranges batholith of southwestern California have produced spectacular crystals of semiprecious and precious minerals for over a century. Aside from their economic importance, these dikes straddle a major tectonic boundary and were used to test hypotheses related to the timing and development of this composite batholith. Paleomagnetic analysis of 252 specimens from 20 sites (12 and 8 sites in the western and eastern zones of the batholith, respectively, from 11 mines in five dike districts) isolated a stable characteristic remanent magnetization direction at 19 sites. The site mean directions for the western and eastern zones are statistically indistinguishable at 95% confidence, supporting petrologic and geochemical arguments that the dikes of the two zones are coeval and cogenetic. After correction for the Neogene opening of the Gulf of California, the paleopole for all 19 site mean directions is indistinguishable from the 94 Ma reference paleopole for North America and supports hypotheses that (1) the dikes are genetically related to intrusion of the La Posta-type plutons; (2) the batholith was already assembled beside the northwestern coastline of Mexico at 94 Ma; (3) ENE-side-up tilting of fault blocks in the batholith’s western zone ended by ∼94 Ma; and (4) the far-sided and clockwise-rotated discordant paleopoles found commonly in Late Cretaceous and younger sedimentary rocks of the batholith’s region are mostly the result of inclination-flattening of the remanence and (or) remagnetization by fluid flow, creating a secondary remanence, excluding Neogene tectonic rotations.

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