Paleozoic-Mesozoic boundary in the Berry Creek Quadrangle, northwestern Sierra Nevada, California

Professional Paper 1027




Structural and petrologic studies in the Berry Creek quadrangle at the north end of the western metamorphic belt of the Sierra Nevada have yielded new information that helps in distinguishing between the chemically similar Paleozoic and Mesozoic rocks. The distinguishing features are structural and textural and result from different degrees of deformation. Most Paleozoic rocks are strongly deformed and thoroughly recrystallized. Phenocrysts in meta volcanic rocks are granulated and drawn out into lenses that have sutured outlines. In contrast, the phenocrysts in the Mesozoic metavolcanic rocks show well-preserved straight crystal faces, are only slightly or not at all granulated, and contain fewer mineral inclusions than do those in the Paleozoic rocks. The groundmass in the Paleozoic rocks is recrystallized to a fairly coarse grained albite-epidote-amphibole-chlorite rock, whereas in the Mesozoic rocks the groundmass is a very fine grained feltlike mesh with only spotty occurrence of well-recrystallized finegrained albite-epidote-chlorite-actinolite rock. Primary minerals, such as augite, are locally preserved in the Mesozoic rocks but are altered to a mixture of amphibole, chlorite, and epidote in the Paleozoic rocks. In the contact aureoles of the plutons, and within the Big Bend fault zone, which crosses the area parallel to the structural trends, all rocks are thoroughly recrystallized and strongly deformed. Identification of the Paleozoic and Mesozoic rocks in these parts of the area was based on the continuity of the rock units in the field and on gradual changes in microscopic textures toward the plutons.

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USGS Numbered Series
Paleozoic-Mesozoic boundary in the Berry Creek Quadrangle, northwestern Sierra Nevada, California
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Professional Paper
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U.S. Govt. Print. Off.,
22 p.; 1 plate in pocket