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Analysis of structural and stratigraphic data indicates that several periods of regional deformation, consisting of combined folding, faulting, cataclasis, and regional metamorphism, occurred throughout the central Sierra Nevada during Paleozoic and Mesozoic time. The oldest regional deformation occurred alono northward trends during the Devonian and Mississippian periods in most roof pendants containing lower Paleozoic metasedimentary rocks at the center and along the crest of the range. This deformation is expressed in some roof pendants by an angular unconformity separating older thrice-deformed from younger twice-deformed Paleozoic metasedimentary rocks.
The first Mesozoic deformation, which consisted of uplift and erosion and was accompanied by the onset of Andean-type volcanism during the Permian and Triassic, is expressed by an angular unconformity in several roof pendants from the Saddlebag Lake to the Mount Morrison areas. This unconformity is defined by Permian and Triassic andesitic to rhyolitic metavolcanic rocks unconformably overlying more intensely deformed Pennsylvanian, Permian(?), and older metasedimentary rocks. A later regional deformation occurred during the Triassic along N. 20?_30? W. trends in Permian and Triassic metavolcanic rocks of the Saddlebag Lake and Mount Dana roof pendants, in upper Paleozoic rocks of the Pine Creek roof pendant, and in the Calaveras Formation of the western metamorphic belt; the roof pendants are crosscut by Upper Triassic granitic rocks of the Lee Vining intrusive epoch. A still later period of Early and Middle Jurassic regional deformation occurred along N. 30?-60? E. trends in upper Paleozoic rocks of the Calaveras Formation of the western metamorphic belt. A further period of deformation was the Late Jurassic Nevadan orogeny, which occurred along N. 20?_40? W. trends in Upper Jurassic rocks of the western metamorphic belt that are crosscut by Upper Jurassic granitic rocks of the Yosemite intrusive epoch. Structures of similar age occur in intensely deformed oceanic-lithospheric and syntectonic plutonic rocks of the lower Kings River area, in Jurassic metavolcanic rocks of the Ritter Range roof pendant, and in Triassic metasedimentary rocks of the Mineral King roof pendant. The final Mesozoic deformation occurred along N. 50?-80? W. trends in both high-country roof pendants and the lower Kings River area; structures of this generation are crosscut by relatively undeformed Upper Cretaceous granitic rocks of the Cathedral Range intrusive epoch.
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Paleozoic and Mesozoic deformations in the central Sierra Nevada, California