Abstract

Intrusion of Mesozoic batholiths in California and the western North America Cordillera began in the Late Triassic 210 m.y. ago and ended in the Late Cretaceous 80 m.y. ago. Emplacement of granitic rocks was apparently not continuous but was accomplished during five major epochs of intrusion at approximately 30 m.y. intervals, each epoch taking 10 to 20 m.y. to complete. A progressive transgression of epicontinental seas onto the midcontinent occurred during the same interval of time as the batholithic emplacement to the west. A penecontemporaneous deformation near the loci of granitic emplacement and a temporary regression during the major progressive transgression of seas onto the midcontinent are correlated with each intrusive epoch. The locus of Mesozoic granitic rocks was a source of sediments during most of the period of time required to emplace the batholiths; the origin of the batholithic magmas cannot be related only to localized down-warping of geosynclines. The source of the major proportion of the mobile granodioritic magmas of the Sierra Nevada was within the mantle, as is indicated by Sr isotope data. All plutons now exposed in the Sierra Nevada, whether of Cretaceous age or older, were emplaced at depths of a very few kilometers, the shallowest having been emplaced at depths of 4 km or less. The spatial relationships among these synchronous geologic phenomena and the geochemical and geophysical data from the same region are accounted for by a northwestward drift of North America in the region of the western Cordillera of the United States onto and across a Mesozoic feature that had characteristics like present-day oceanic rises.

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