This field trip provides an overview of the stratigraphic and structural evolution of the northern Sierra terrane, which forms a significant part of the wall rocks on the western side of the later Mesozoic Sierra Nevada batholith in California. The terrane consists of a pre-Late Devonian subduction complex (Shoo Fly Complex) overlain by submarine arc-related deposits that record the evolution of three separate island-arc systems in the Late Sevonian-Early Mississippian, Permian, and Late Triassic-Jurassic. The two Paleozoic are packages and the underlying Shoo Fly Complex have an important bearing on plate-tectonic processes affecting the convergent margin outboard of the Paleozoic Cordilleran miogeocline, although their original paleogeographic relations to North America are controversial. The third arc package represents an overlap assemblage that ties the terrane to North America by the Late Triassic and helps constrain the nature and timing of Mesozoic orogenesis. Several of the field-trip stops examine the record of pre-Late Devonian subduction contained in the Shoo Fly Complex, as well as the paleovolcanology of the overlying Devonian to Jurassic arc rocks. Excellent glaciated exposures provide the opportunity to study a cross section through a tilted Devonian volcano-plutonic association. Additional stops focus on plutonic rocks emplaced during the Middle Jurassic arc magmatism in the terrane, and during the main pulse of Cretaceous magmatism in the Sierra Nevada batholith to the east.
Additional publication details
Paleozoic subduction complex and Paleozoic-Mesozoic island-arc volcano-plutonic assemblages in the northern Sierra terrane