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The Mount Diablo region has been located within a hypothesized persistent corridor for clastic sediment delivery to the central California continental margin over the past ~100 m.y. In this paper, we present new detrital zircon U-Pb geochronology and integrate it with previously established geologic and sedimentologic relationships to document how Late Cretaceous through Cenozoic trends in sandstone composition varied through time in response to changing tectonic environments and paleogeography. Petrographic composition and detrital zircon age distributions of Great Valley forearc stratigraphy demonstrate a transition from axial drainage of the Klamath Mountains to a dominantly transverse Sierra Nevada plutonic source throughout Late Cretaceous–early Paleogene time. The abrupt presence of significant pre-Permian and Late Cretaceous–early Paleogene zircon age components suggests an addition of extraregional sediment derived from the Idaho batholith region and Challis volcanic field into the northern forearc basin by early–middle Eocene time as a result of continental extension and unroofing. New data from the Upper Cenozoic strata in the East Bay region show a punctuated voluminous influx (>30%) of middle Eocene–Miocene detrital zircon age populations that corresponds with westward migration and cessation of silicic ignimbrite eruptions in the Nevada caldera belt (ca. 43–40, 26–23 Ma). Delivery of extraregional sediment to central California diminished by early Miocene time as renewed erosion of the Sierra Nevada batholith and recycling of forearc strata were increasingly replaced by middle–late Miocene andesitic arc–derived sediment that was sourced from Ancestral Cascade volcanism (ca. 15–10 Ma) in the northern Sierra Nevada. Conversely, Cenozoic detrital zircon age distributions representative of the Mesozoic Sierra Nevada batholith and radiolarian chert and blueschist-facies lithics reflect sediment eroded from locally exhumed Mesozoic subduction complex and forearc basin strata. Intermingling of eastern- and western-derived provenance sources is consistent with uplift of the Coast Ranges and reversal of sediment transport associated with the late Miocene transpressive deformation along the Hayward and Calaveras faults. These provenance trends demonstrate a reorganization and expansion of the western continental drainage catchment in the California forearc during the late transition to flat-slab subduction of the Farallon plate, subsequent volcanism, and southwestward migration of the paleodrainage divide during slab rollback, and ultimately the cessation of convergent margin tectonics and initiation of the continental transform margin in north-central California.

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