Alluvial-fan conglomerates of the Eocene Poway Group are composed largely of exotic rhyolite and dacite clasts derived from far to the east of their Eocene depositional site. Remnants of the Upper Jurassic bedrock source of the Poway rhyolite clasts may yet be exposed in hills in Sonora, Mexico. For this study, pieces of bedrock were taken from hills 13 km west of El Plomo in Sonora. Clasts texturally and mineralogically similar to the Sonoran bedrock were collected from the apex of the Eocene alluvial fan in San Diego County, California Nine couplets of bedrock and conglomerate clast samples (textural twins) were analyzed for 16 trace elements selected for their wide range of behaviors during magmatic and alteration processes.
Statistical comparisons of the trace-element data, by using the standard error-of-the-difference method, show that there are no significant differences between the two populations. These data strongly suggest that the rhyolitic bedrock hills west of El Plomo were part of the source terrane for the Eocene conglomerate in San Diego. The latitudinal separation between bedrock source and the site of deposition is only the 2° created by the opening of the Gulf of California This implies that any boundary separating a paleomagnetically efined, Baja-Borderland terrane from the craton since Eocene time was at least 100 km east of the Gulf of California in northernmost Sonora.