Although Late Triassic igneous rocks are present, the Sierra Nevada–Klamath calc-alkaline arc began massive construction along the continental margin at ca. 170 Ma during oblique underflow of paleo-Pacific oceanic lithosphere; intense activity continued throughout the volcanic-plutonic belt until at least ca. 140 Ma. This volcanic-plutonic arc supplied detritus to the Mariposa-Galice proximal clastic sequence starting by ca. 165-160 Ma. After onset of uppermost Jurassic Myrtle overlap sedimentation on the western flank of the Klamath Mountains, but before Hornbrook and Valanginian Great Valley Group overlap deposition on the eastern and southeastern sides, the Klamath Mountains salient was displaced ∼200 km westward relative to the igneous arc. The orogen thus moved off the deep-seated magmagenic zone underlying the arc and did not participate in the massive Sierra Nevada igneous flare-up between ca. 125 and ca. 85 Ma. I suggest that, beginning at ca. 140 Ma, underflow of a young, thin oceanic slab beneath the Klamath Mountains slid beneath the gently east-dipping stack of thrust sheets without disturbing their inclinations. Subduction and collision of much thicker oceanic lithosphere on both the north and south caused contraction, eastward relative displacement of the continental margin arc, and ductility-enhanced rotation of the superjacent stack of allochthons into near-vertical dips. After a magmatic lull, heightened igneous activity in the Sierra Nevada recommenced at ca. 125 Ma. The earliest Cretaceous oceanward plate junction rollback lay directly offshore the Klamath imbricate orogen, but to the south trapped the ca. 165 Ma Coast Range ophiolite on the North American side of the suture. After ca. 140 Ma, first-cycle arc detritus began to accumulate on the mafic igneous basement flooring the Great Valley forearc, and turbiditic clastic material also was carried oceanward across the forearc into the coeval Franciscan trench.
- Received 19 July 2012.
- Revision received 25 September 2012.
- Accepted 12 October 2012.
- © 2011 Geological Society of America