We present a novel approach for mapping vertical uplifts in exhumed metasedimentary rocks by coupling Raman spectroscopy of carbonaceous material with (U-Th)/He thermochronometry on apatite and zircon. We apply this approach to carbonaceous metasedimentary rocks of the Franciscan subduction complex, exposed in the Nacimiento block of central California, USA, an area that records high-pressure–low-temperature metamorphism prior to entrainment within the present-day transform plate boundary. We reveal the extent and magnitude of previously unrecognized exhumation gradients, which, combined with regional structural observations, can be used to quantify vertical crustal motion associated with localized transpression. We propose that the Nacimiento block was affected by a kilometer-scale, post-subduction thermal anomaly linked to a localized transpressive regime since ca. 25 Ma, with an uplift rate of ∼0.3 mm/yr.

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