Lower Jurassic radiolarian chert sampled at two localities in the San Rafael Mountains of southern California (???20 km north of Santa Barbara) contains four components of remanent magnetization. Components A, B???, and B are inferred to represent uplift, Miocene volcanism, and subduction/accretion overprint magnetizations, respectively. The fourth component (C), isolated between 580?? and 680??C, shows a magnetic polarity stratigraphy and is interpreted as a primary magnetization acquired by the chert during, or soon after, deposition. Both sequences are late Pliensbachian to middle Toarcian in age, and an average paleolatitude calculated from all tilt-corrected C components is 1?? ?? 3?? north or south. This result is consistent with deposition of the cherts beneath the equatorial zone of high biologic productivity and is similar to initial paleolatitudes determined for chert blocks in northern California and Mexico. This result supports our model in which deep-water Franciscan-type cherts were deposited on the Farallon plate as it moved eastward beneath the equatorial productivity high, were accreted to the continental margin at low paleolatitudes, and were subsequently distributed northward by strike-slip faulting associated with movements of the Kula, Farallon, and Pacific plates. Upper Cretaceous turbidites of the Cachuma Formation were sampled at Agua Caliente Canyon to determine a constraining paleolatitude for accretion of the Jurassic chert sequences. These apparently unaltered rocks, however, were found to be completely overprinted by the A component of magnetization. Similar in situ directions and demagnetization behaviors observed in samples of other Upper Cretaceous turbidite sequences in southern and Baja California imply that these rocks might also give unreliable results.
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Equatorial origin for Lower Jurassic radiolarian chert in the Franciscan Complex, San Rafael Mountains, southern California