Paleontological and isotopic age data from the Franciscan complex in the Ortigalita Peak quadrangle, Diablo Range, California, provide new insight into the tectonic evolution of at least part of the Franciscan complex. Graywacke, shale, pillowed greenstone, and chert in the quadrangle were deposited in Late Jurassic (Tithonian) time, about 135 to 150 m.y. ago, on the basis of radiolaria. These rocks then were incorporated in an accretionary wedge prior to the intrusion of gabbroic magma 95 m.y. ago (U-Pb dating on zircons). Subduction (metamorphism of gabbro and surrounding sedimentary rocks to blueschist grade) closely followed intrusion at about 92 m.y. ago (U-Pb dating on metamorphic titanite and “plagioclase” = albite + pumpellyite ± quartz). The brief interval between intrusion and subduction confirms the idea that the gabbro was intruded into the accretionary wedge, essentially at the site of plate convergence. The much longer interval (about 40 to 55 m.y.) between deposition and subduction reveals that the Franciscan had a long presubduction history and provides a time frame within which more speculative concepts such as extensive northward translation of the Franciscan must be constrained.

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