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Tectonics of formation, translation, and dispersal of the Coast Range ophiolite of California

January 1, 1988

Data from the Coast Range ophiolite and its tectonic outliers in the northern California Coast Ranges suggest that the lower part of the ophiolite formed 169 to 163 Ma in a forearc or back arc setting at equatorial latitudes. Beginning about 156 Ma and continuing until 145 Ma, arc magmatism was superimposed on the ophiolite, and concurrently, a transform developed along the arc axis or in the back arc area. Rapid northward translation of this rifted active magmatic arc to middle latitudes culminated in its accretion to the California margin of North America at about 145 Ma. This Late Jurassic episode of translation, arc magmatism, and accretion coincided with the Nevadan orogeny and a proposed major plate reorganization in the eastern Pacific basin. Displacement occurred between about 60 and 52 Ma. Ophiolitic rocks in the Decatur terrane of western Washington that have recently been correlated with the Coast Range ophiolite and the Great Valley sequence of California were apparently displaced at least 950 to 1200 km from the west side of the Great Valley between early Tertiary and Early Cretaceous time. Derived rates of northward translation for the ophiolite outliers in California are in the range of 1 to 4 cm/yr. -from Authors

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