In the south-central Klamath Mountains 50 miles of the the north-trending central metamorphic belt and adjacent parts of the eastern Paleozoic and western Paleozoic and Triassic belts have been mapped and studied in detail. Within the central metamorphic belt a sequence of three lithologically distinctive metamorphic units has been recognized (from bottom to top): (1) siliceous metasedimentary rocks and greenstones of the Stuart Fork Formation; (2) the Salmon Hornblende Schist; and (3) siliceous, calcareous, and amphibolitic rocks, predominantly metasedimentary, of the Grouse Ridge Formation. The age of these metamorphic rocks is uncertain; they are known only to predate intrusion of Late Jurassic (Nevadan) granitic rocks. Ultramafic rocks, mainly alpine-type peridotites, were emplaced before the granitic rocks and occur primarily in a single large sheetlike body which separates the central metamorphic belt from the eastern Paleozoic belt. Granitic plutons, including quartz diorites, trondhjemites, granodiorites, diorites, and gabbros, in decreasing order of abundance, range in size from less than 1 to about 80 square miles in area.
Two orogenic phases in the central metamorphic belt have been distinguished by structural and textural features. A late deformation uniformly affected the metamorphic terrane and the ultramafic rocks but predated granitic rocks. It was accompanied by some metamorphism in the lower to middle greenchist facies and produced upright folds that trend south and plunge gently. An earlier phase affected the various rock units differentially; it produced widespread recumbent folding and upper greenschist- to amphibolite-facies metamorphism in Salmon and Grouse Ridge rocks, but involved the underlying Stuart Fork Formation less severely, producing at least local recumbent folding and lower greenschist-facies metamorphism. The preferred interpretation of this upward increase in structural complexity and metamorphic grade is that the Salmon-Grouse Ridge sequence is a thrust sheet which overrode the Stuart Fork rocks concurrently with emplacement of the ultramafic rocks during the culmination of early recumbent folding and metamorphism. Thrusting was then followed by upright folding during the waning stages of regional metamorphism. The first deformational phase, and possibly the second, occurred during late Paleozoic time as indicated by recent isotopic ages of Salmon Hornblende Schist.