Paleomagnetic study of the Eastern Klamath terrane, California, and implications for the tectonic history of the Klamath Mountains Province

Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
By: , and 



Paleomagnetic study of Permian through Jurassic volcanic and sedimentary strata of the Eastern Klamath terrane has shown the remanent magnetization of many of these rocks to be prefolding and most likely primary. Similarities in magnetic declinations recorded by coeval strata over a broad area are consistent with the hypothesis that the terrane, in general, has behaved as a single rigid block. Paleomagnetic data indicate that the volcanic island arc represented by this terrane, the nucleus of the province, was facing toward the present southwest during late Paleozoic time, although its orientation during earlier periods is unknown. Whether the arc was separated from the North American craton by a small marginal basin or originated far offshore cannot be determined from paleomagnetic data. The declination anomalies for both Permian and Triassic strata are similar (average = 106° ± 12°), so we infer that clockwise rotation of the late Paleozoic arc did not begin until latest Triassic or earliest Jurassic time. The arc may have completed its initial rotation with respect to stable North America by Middle Jurassic time. After some retrograde motion, the arc was again facing west by the Late Jurassic, by which time some of the more westerly terranes of the province had become attached to the Eastern Klamath terrane. The composite Klamath Mountains terranes continued to rotate until the final 60° of clockwise rotation was nearly complete by the Early Cretaceous. Coincidence of the waning stages of rotation, at about 136 Ma, with the beginning of deposition of the basal Great Valley sequence onto the Klamath basement probably represents the completion of accretion of the Klamath Mountains terranes to the North American continent. Nearly all the rotation occurred while the Klamath Mountains terranes were part of a converging oceanic plate, with only about 20° of rotation in mid‐Tertiary time during Basin and Range extension. No data currently available show evidence for any significant latitudinal displacement of any Klamath Mountains terranes relative to cratonic North America.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Paleomagnetic study of the Eastern Klamath terrane, California, and implications for the tectonic history of the Klamath Mountains Province
Series title Journal of Geophysical Research B: Solid Earth
DOI 10.1029/JB094iB08p10444
Volume 94
Issue B8
Year Published 1989
Language English
Publisher AGU
Contributing office(s) Geology, Minerals, Energy, and Geophysics Science Center
Description 29 p.
First page 10444
Last page 10472
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Klamath Mountains Province
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