Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

American Mineralogist

Journal of Earth and Planetary Materials

Ed. by Baker, Don / Xu, Hongwu / Swainson, Ian

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 2.645

CiteScore 2018: 2.55

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 1.355
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 1.103

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 100, Issue 1


Franciscan geologic history constrained by tectonic/olistostromal high-grade metamafic blocks in the iconic California Mesozoic-Cenozoic accretionary complex

W.G. Ernst
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305-2115, U.S.A.
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2015-01-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2138/am-2015-4850


Subduction generated a NW-trending Andean arc along the Californian margin beginning at ~175 Ma. Coeval high-pressure (HP) transformation of oceanic crust in an east-dipping, subduction zone probably accompanied plate convergence, but recovered Franciscan eclogite and garnet blueschist blocks chiefly possess younger recrystallization ages of ~165-150 Ma. These Jurassic HP metamafic rocks were sequestered in a low-temperature environment well into Cretaceous time. Fragments of actinolitic rinds partially surround many such high-grade blocks. Only slightly younger than the HP metamorphism, these rinds reflect metasomatic exchange between metabasalt and serpentinized harzburgite along the dynamic oceanic crust-mantle hanging wall during storage of the mafic rocks at moderate depth. High-grade tectonic blocks later were brought toward the surface in circulating, low-density, sheared mud-matrix mélange and/or in buoyant serpentinite bodies. Most exotic HP metamafic blocks occur in mélanges of the Franciscan Central Belt, reflecting tectonic insertion within the subduction zone-not near-surface additions to the clastic section. However, rare, high-grade clasts in feebly recrystallized Franciscan conglomerates suggest erosion and sedimentary deposition for some HP blocks. The addition of dense metabasaltic olistoliths to the mid- and Upper Cretaceous section requires that these HP material were carried surfaceward first as tectonic fragments, perhaps immersed in low-density serpentinite or mud-matrix mélange, then eroded and transported into the trench. HP rocks are conspicuously lacking in coeval Great Valley strata. Whatever the origin of particular high-grade rocks, widespread post-depositional shearing has largely obliterated their original natures, but all dense metamafic blocks of Jurassic recrystallization age must have been supplied to the Cretaceous Franciscan accretionary complex by entrainment in a low-density, circulating muddy matrix or serpentinite body. The vast majority of exotic HP blocks resides in Central Belt mélanges, and appears to be tectonic rather than olistostromal in origin.

Keywords: High pressure; metamorphic petrology; petrogenesis; sedimentary petrology; Earth science; Invited Centennial article

About the article

Received: 2013-12-13

Accepted: 2014-02-17

Published Online: 2015-01-10

Published in Print: 2015-01-01

Citation Information: American Mineralogist, Volume 100, Issue 1, Pages 6–13, ISSN (Online) 1945-3027, ISSN (Print) 0003-004X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2138/am-2015-4850.

Export Citation

© 2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston.

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in