Mesozoic structural domes are developed in an older Proterozoic crystalline basement of granitic to granodioritic foliate metaplutonic rocks in the Halloran Hills, southeastern California. Isotopic analyses of whole rocks and mineral separates from these rocks by U-Th-Pb, Rb-Sr, and Ar-Ar techniques yield a complex pattern of discordance that is the result of a fairly simple geologic history. Individual mineral isotopic systems have variably equilibrated with each other in response to Mesozoic regional metamorphism and locally to later heating during Mesozoic batholith emplacement.
Discordant U-Th-Pb zircon data indicate that the granitic core rocks are 1,710 Ma and that one dioritic phase may be slightly older. Rb-Sr whole-rock model dates scatter about 1,700 Ma Rb-Sr amphibole–whole-rock and U-Th-Pb amphibole dates are also Proterozoic. Potassium feldspars retain a 207Pb/206Pb signature of their Proterozoic age. Ar-Ar amphibole spectra from the flank of the main dome reveal disturbed dates of 1,450 Ma to 1,100 Ma, and the dates become younger toward the structurally deeper core of the dome.
All remaining isotopic determinations yield Mesozoic or younger dates for mineral–whole-rock systems. Rb-Sr whole-rock–apatite–feldspar–biotite analyses show nonequilibration of strontium isotopes, with resultant mineral pair dates from 4 foliate plutonic rocks ranging from 200 to 50 Ma. No single metamorphic age is indicated by the Rb-Sr data. Rb-Sr whole-rock–biotite dates are consistently younger than any other determinations and may be reduced by weathering or gain of nonradiogenic strontium from ground water.
U-Pb sphene and apatite analyses from rocks that yield 1,710-Ma zircon dates are nearly concordant at 140 Ma. An amphibole from the structurally deepest rocks of the main dome that yield 140- to 150-Ma U-Pb sphene dates has an Ar-Ar plateau date of 144 Ma. The U-Pb sphene and Ar-Ar amphibole analyses are believed to be the best age estimate for the end of the highest-temperature phase of regional metamorphism. Th-Pb sphene and apatite dates and Ar-Ar biotite dates cluster at 90 ± 5 Ma as a consequence of regional cooling during Late Cretaceous time following extensive Mesozoic plutonism in the region at 97 to 90 Ma.
We interpret the discordant mineral date patterns to have resulted from metamorphism of ∼1,700-Ma plutonic rocks during the Jurassic (≥ 140–50 Ma) and subsequent uplift and cooling to ∼200 °C at about 90 Ma. On the basis of this study, the isotope dating systems ranked in decreasing order of resistance to resetting are: U-Th-Pb zircon (concordia intercept) ≥ Rb-Sr whole rock ∼Rb-Sr amphibole ∼U-Th-Pb amphibole ∼Pb-Pb whole rock > Ar-Ar amphibole ≥ Rb-Sr sphene ≥ U-Pb sphene and apatite > Rb-Sr plagioclase-potassium feldspar-apatite > Th-Pb sphene and apatite ∼Ar-Ar biotite ∼U-Pb feldspars > Rb-Sr biotite.