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Metamorphism and plutonism around the middle and south forks of the Feather River, California

Professional Paper 920

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Abstract

The area around the Middle and South Forks of the Feather River provides information on metamorphic and igneous processes that bear on the origin of andesitic and granitic magmas in general and on the variation of their potassium content in particular. In the north, the area joins the Pulga and Bucks Lake quadrangles studied previously. Tectonically, this area is situated in the southern part of an arcuate segment of the Nevadan orogenic belt in the northwestern Sierra Nevada. The oldest rocks are metamorphosed calcalkaline island-arc-type andesite, dacite, and sodarhyolite with interbedded tuff layers (the Franklin Canyon Formation), all probably correlative with Devonian rocks in the Klamath Mountains. Younger rocks form a sequence of volcanic, volcaniclastic, and sedimentary rocks including some limestone (The Horseshoe Bend Formation), probably Permian in age. All the volcanic and sedimentary rocks were folded and recrystallized to the greenschist facies during the Nevadan (Jurassic) orogeny and were invaded by monzotonalitic magmas shortly thereafter. A second lineation and metamorphism to the epidote-amphibolite facies developed in a narrow zone around the plutons.

In light of the concept of plate tectonics, it is suggested that the early (Devonian?) island-arc-type andesite, dacite, and sodarhyolite (the Franklin Canyon Formation) were derived from the mantle above a Benioff zone by partial melting of peridotite in hydrous conditions. The water was probably derived from an oceanic plate descending to the mantle. Later (Permian?) magmas were mainly basaltic; some discontinuous layers of potassium-rich rhyolite indicate a change into anhydrous conditions and a deeper level of magma generation. The plutonic magmas that invaded the metamorphic rocks at the end of the Jurassic may contain material from the mantle, the subducted oceanic lithosphere, and the downfolded metamorphic rocks. The ratio of partial melts from these three sources may have changed with time, giving rise to the diversity in composition of magmas.

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Additional publication details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Metamorphism and plutonism around the middle and south forks of the Feather River, California
Series title:
Professional Paper
Series number:
920
Year Published:
1976
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Government Printing Office
Description:
Report: iii, 30 p.; Plate: 40.23 x 26.77 inches
Country:
United States
State:
California
Other Geospatial:
Feather River