Detrital Zircon Ages in Palaeozoic and Mesozoic Basement Assemblages of the Peninsular Ranges Batholith, Baja California, Mexico: Constraints for Depositional Ages and Provenance

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Peninsular Ranges, detrital zircon analyses, terrane provenance, terranes, palaeogeography, Baja California, Mexico

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The origin and continuity of Phanerozoic lithostratigraphic terranes in southern and Baja California remain an unsolved issue in Cordilleran tectonics. We present data from eight detrital zircon samples collected across the southern extent of the Peninsular Ranges that help constrain the provenance of detritus and the depositional ages of these basement units. Detrital zircon signatures from units in the eastern Peninsular Ranges correlate with Palaeozoic passive margin assemblages in the southwestern North American Cordillera. Units in the central belt, which consists of Triassic–Jurassic metasedimentary turbidite assemblages that probably deformed in an accretionary prism setting, and Cretaceous metasedimentary and metavolcanic units that represent the remnants of a continental margin arc, were derived from both proximal and more distal sources. The westernmost units, which are locally structurally interleaved with the Triassic through Cretaceous units of the central belt, are Cretaceous deposits that represent a series of collapsed basin complexes located within and flanking the Cretaceous Alisitos volcanic island arc. Cretaceous intra-arc units show little influx of cratonal material until approximately 110 Ma, whereas coeval sediments on the northern and eastern flanks of the Alisitos arc contain abundant cratonal detritus. Intra-arc strata younger than approximately 110 Ma contain large amounts of Proterozoic and older detrital zircons. These data suggest that basins associated with the Alisitos arc were either too distant or somehow shielded from North American detritus before 110 Ma. In the case of the former, increased influx of continental detritus after 110 Ma would support a tectonic model in which the arc was separated from North America by an ocean basin and, as the arc approached the continent, associated depositional centres were close enough to receive input from continental sources.

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International Geology Review, v. 54, issue 1, p. 93-110