Weathered felsite is associated with the late Campanian-Maastrichtian Pigeon Point Formation near Pescadero, California. Poorly exposed, its age and correlation are uncertain. Is it part of the Pigeon Point section west of the San Gregorio-Hosgri fault? Does it rest on Nacimiento block basement? Is it dextrally offset from the Oligocene Cambria Felsite, ~185 km to the southeast? Why is a calc-alkaline hypabyssal igneous rock intrusive into the outboard accretionary prism? To address these questions, we analyzed 43 oscillatory-zoned zircon crystals from three incipiently recrystallized pumpellyite ?? prehnite ?? laumontite-bearing Pescadero felsite samples by sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe-reverse geometry (SHRIMPRG) and laser ablation-inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) techniques. Thirty-three zircons gave late Mesozoic U-Pb ages, with single-grain values ranging from 81 to 167 Ma; ten have pre-Mesozoic, chiefl y Proterozoic ages. A group of the four youngest Pescadero zircons yielded an apparent maximum igneous age of ca. 86-90 Ma. Refl ecting broad age scatter and presence of partly digested sandstone inclusions, we interpret the rest of the zircons (perhaps all) as xenocrysts. Twenty-three zircons were separated and analyzed from two samples of the similar Cambria Felsite, yielding a unimodal 27 Ma U-Pb age. Clearly, the origin of the Upper Oligocene Cambria Felsite is different from that of the Upper Cretaceous Pescadero felsite; these rocks are not correlated, and do not constrain displacement along the San Gregorio-Hosgri fault. Peak ages differ slightly, but relative probability curves for Mesozoic and pre-Mesozoic Pescadero zircons compare well, for example, with abundant U-Pb age data for detrital zircons from Franciscan metaclastic strata ~100 km to the east in the Diablo Range- San Francisco Bay area, San Joaquin Great Valley Group turbidites, Upper Cretaceous Nacimiento block Franciscan strata, and Upper Cretaceous forearc units of the Transverse Ranges. Based on zircon U-Pb ages, geologic and petrographic relations, the Pescadero felsite and a capping, sheared metaconglomerate underlie the Pigeon Point Formation. We infer that the magma formed by anatexis of Franciscan or Great Valley clastic sedimentary rocks originating from a parental Mesozoic Sierran-Mojave-Salinian calcalkaline arc. The felsite erupted during Late Cretaceous time, was metamorphosed to pumpellyite-prehnite grade within the subduction zone, and then was rapidly exhumed, weakly zeolitized, and exposed before Pigeon Point forearc deposition. Pescadero vol canism apparently reflects a previously unrecognized ca. 86-90 Ma felsic igneous event in the accretionary margin. ?? 2011 Geological Society of America.
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Zircon U-Pb age of the Pescadero felsite: A late Cretaceous igneous event in the forearc, west-central California Coast Ranges