Cordilleran-margin quartzites in Baja California - Implications for tectonic transport

George E. Gehrels, John H. Stewart, Keith B. Ketner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


One of the current controversies in Cordilleran tectonics concerns the position of Baja California prior to ∼ 300 km of opening of the Gulf of California. Geologic arguments, together with paleomagnetic results from Lower Cretaceous volcanic rocks, suggest that the rocks of the Baja Peninsula formed and evolved along the coast of northwestern Mexico prior to opening of the Gulf. In contrast, paleomagnetic data from Cretaceous-early Tertiary plutonic rocks and clastic strata have been interpreted by some workers to suggest that Baja was located near southern Mexico at approximately 80 Ma. The presence of similar detrital zircon ages in lower Paleozoic quartzites of northeast Baja and in lower Paleozoic strata east of the Gulf, in northwestern Mexico and southwestern US, provides strong support for the northern paleoposition, suggesting that Baja has been transported northward by only ∼ 300 km.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-210
Number of pages10
JournalEarth and Planetary Science Letters
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2002


  • Absolute ages
  • Mexico
  • Provenance
  • Tectonics
  • U/Pb

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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