The Great Valley basin of California (USA) is an archetypal forearc basin, yet the timing, structural style, and location of basin development remain controversial. Eighteen of 20 detrital zircon samples (3711 new U-Pb ages) from basal strata of the Great Valley forearc basin contain Cretaceous grains, with nine samples yielding statistically robust Cretaceous maximum depositional ages (MDAs), two with MDAs that overlap the Jurassic-Cretaceous boundary, suggesting earliest Cretaceous deposition, and nine with Jurassic MDAs consistent with latest Jurassic deposition. In addition, the pre-Mesozoic age populations of our samples are consistent with central North America sources and do not require a southern provenance. We interpret that diachronous initiation of sedimentation reflects the growth of isolated depocenters, consistent with an extensional model for the early stages of forearc basin development.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Orme, D.A., & Surpless, K.D. (2019). The birth of a forearc: The basal great valley group, California, USA. Geology. doi:10.1130/G46283.1