The Rand and Sierra de Salinas schists of southern California were underplated beneath the southern Sierra Nevada batholith and adjacent Mojave-Salinia region along a shallow segment of the subducting Farallon plate in Late Cretaceous time. Various mechanisms, including return flow, isostatically driven uplift, upper plate normal faulting, erosion, or some combination thereof, have been proposed for the exhumation of the schist. We supplement existing kinematic data with new vorticity and strain analysis to characterize deformation in the Rand and Sierra de Salinas schists. These data indicate that the schist was transported to the SSW from deep to shallow crustal levels along a mylonitic contact (the Rand fault and Salinas shear zone) with upper plate assemblages. Crystallographic preferred orientation patterns in deformed quartzites reveal a decreasing simple shear component with increasing structural depth, suggesting a pure shear dominated westward flow within the subduction channel and localized simple shear along the upper channel boundary. The resulting flow type within the channel is that of general shear extrusion. Integration of these observations with published geochronologic, thermochronometric, thermobarometric, and paleomagnetic studies reveals a temporal relationship between schist unroofing and upper crustal extension and rotation. We present a model whereby trench-directed channelized extrusion of the underplated schist triggered gravitational collapse and clockwise rotation of the upper plate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geochemistry and Petrology