A compilation of new and published detrital zircon U-Pb age data from Permo-Triassic to Cretaceous intra-arc strata of the Sierra Nevada (eastern California, USA) reveals consistent sedimentary provenance and depositional trends across the entire Sierra Nevada arc. Detrital zircon age distributions of Sierra Nevada intra-arc strata are dominated by Mesozoic age peaks corresponding to coeval or just preceding arc activity. Many samples display a spread of pre-300 Ma ages that is indistinguishable from the detrital age distributions of pre-Mesozoic prebatholithic framework strata and southwestern Laurentian continental margin deposits. Synthesis of detrital zircon age data with tectonostratigraphic constraints indicates that a marine to subaerial arc was established in Triassic time, giving way to widespread shallow- to deep-marine deposition in latest Triassic to Early Jurassic time that continued until the emergence of the arc surface in the Early Cretaceous. No data presented herein require the existence of Mesozoic exotic terranes and/or outboard arcs that were previously hypothesized to have been accreted to the Sierra Nevada. We conclude that Sierra Nevada intra-arc strata formed within a coherent depositional network that was intimately linked to the southwestern United States Cordilleran margin throughout the span of Mesozoic arc activity.

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