The core of the northern Cascade Range in Washington consists of Precambrian and upper Paleozoic metamorphic rocks cut by numerous plutons, ranging in age from early Triassic to Miocene. The older plutons have been eroded to catazonal depths, whereas subvolcanic rocks are exposed in the youngest plutons. The Holden and Lucerne quadrangles span a -sizeable and representative part of this core. The oldest of the formations mapped in these quadrangles is the Swakane Biotite Gneiss, which was shown on the quadrangle maps as Cretaceous and older in age. The Swakane has yielded a middle Paleozoic metamorphic age, and also contains evidence of zircon inherited from some parent material more than 1,650 m.y. old. In this report, the Swakane is assigned an early Paleozoic or older age. It consists mostly of biotite gneiss, but interlayered with it are scattered layers and lenses of hornblende schist and gneiss, clinozoisite-epidote gneiss, and quartzite. Thickness of the Swakane is many thousands of meters, and the base is not exposed. The biotite gneiss is probably derived from a pile of siliceous volcanic rocks containing scattered sedimentary beds and basalt flows. Overlying the Swakane is a thick sequence of eugeosynclinal upper Paleozoic rocks metamorphosed to amphibolite grade. The sequence includes quartzite and thin layers of marble, hornblende schist and gneiss, graphitic schist, and smaller amounts of schist and gneiss of widely varying compositions. The layers have been tightly and complexly folded, and, in places, probably had been thrust over the overlying Swakane prior to metamorphism. Youngest of the supracrustal rocks in the area are shale, arkosic sandstone, and conglomerate of the Paleocene Swauk Formation. These rocks are preserved in the Chiwaukum graben, a major structural element of the region.
Of uncertain age, but possibly as old as any of the intrusive rocks in the area, are small masses of ultramafic rocks, now almost completely altered to serpentine. These occur either as included irregular masses in later intrusives or as tectonically emplaced lenses in metamorphic rocks. Also of uncertain age but probably much younger, perhaps as young as Eocene, are larger masses of hornblendite and hornblende periodotite that grade into hornblende gabbro. These are exposed on the surface and in the underground workings of the Holden mine.
Oldest of the granitoid intrusives are the narrow, nearly concordant Dumbell Mountain plutons, having a radiometric age of about 220 m.y. They consist of gneissic hornblende-quartz diorite and quartz diorite gneiss. Most contacts consist of lit-par-lit zones, but some are gradational or more rarely sharp. The plutons are typically catazonal. Closely resembling the Dumbell Mountain plutons in outcrop appearance, but differing considerably in composition, are the Bearcat Ridge plutons. These consist of gneissic quartz diorite and granodiorite. The Bearcat Ridge plutons are not in contact with older dated plutons, but because their textural and structural characteristics so closely resemble those of the Dumbell Mountain plutons, they are considered to be the same age. Their composition, however, is suggestive of a much younger age. Cutting the Dumbell Mountain plutons is the Leroy Creek pluton, consisting of gneissic biotite-quartz diorite and trondjhemite. The gneissic foliation in the Leroy Creek is characterized by a strong and pervasive swirling. Cutting both the Dumbell Mountain and Leroy Creek plutons are the almost dikelike Seven-fingered Jack plutons. These range in composition from gabbro to quartz diorite; associated with them are contact complexes of highly varied rocks characterized by gabbro and coarse-grained hornblendite. Most of the rocks are gneissic, but some are massive and structureless. Radiometric ages by various methods range from 100 to 193 m.y.
Dikes, sills, small stocks, and irregular clots of leucocratic quartz diorite and granodiorite are abundant in t