Detrital zircon geochronology of the Shoo Fly Complex, northern Sierra terrane, northeastern California

James P. Harding, George E. Gehrels, David S. Harwood, Gary H. Girty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


U-Pb analyses have been conducted on 92 individual detrital zircon grains from 4 of the main thrust sheets of the Shoo Fly Complex. Samples from the Culbertson Lake allochthon, Duncan Peak allochthon, and Lang sequence yield mainly 1.80- 2.10, 2.20- 2.45, and 2.55- 2.70 Ga ages, which suggests that sediments in these units originated in a cratonal region containing Paleoproterozoic and Archean igneous rocks. These ages match those of basement provinces from the northwestern Canadian shield, suggesting a provenance link with northwestern North America during early Paleozoic time. The Sierra City melange, however, has significantly different zircon ages of 551-635 and 1170-131 9 Ma, with only a subordinate population of >1.8 Ga grains. These grains apparently were derived originally from an outboard Neoproterozoic- Cambrian(?) volcanic arc and from 1.0-1 .7 Ga basement rocks of southwestern North America. The occurrence of all three sets of ages in a sandstone that accumulated outboard of the Lang, Culbertson Lake, and Duncan Peak thrust sheets indicates that most rocks of the Shoo Fly Complex formed inboard of a volcanic arc located in proximity to the southern portion of the Cordilleran margin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)43-55
Number of pages13
JournalSpecial Paper of the Geological Society of America
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


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