What is Franciscan?: revisited

2017-11-24T11:31:48Z (GMT) by Loren A. Raymond
<p>The Franciscan Complex of California is better understood now than in 1972, when Berkland et al. defined it as a complex and divided it into three geographic belts. A re-evaluation is needed. Belts first served as major architectural units, but they have been abandoned by some and renamed as and subdivided into tectonostratigraphic terranes by others. The Franciscan Complex – considered to be the archetypical accretionary complex by many – is the folded, faulted, and stratally disrupted rock mass comprising the supramantle basement of the California-Southern Oregon Coast Ranges exposed east of the Salinian Block and west of and structurally below principal exposures of the Coast Range Fault, Coast Range Ophiolite, Great Valley Group, and Klamath Mountains. The Complex is dominated by sandstones and mudrocks, but contains mafic oceanic crustal fragments with chert, limestone, and other rock types, and zeolite, prehnite-pumpellyite, blueschist, and rare amphibolite and eclogite facies metamorphic rocks. Review of historical precedence, new data, available large-scale maps, and fundamental definitions suggest now (1) that the Belt terminology as applied to the entire Franciscan Complex conflicts with current knowledge of Franciscan rocks and architecture; and (2) that most named Franciscan terranes and nappes are inconsistent with basic definitions of those unit types. The major architectural units into which the Franciscan Complex can be divided are accretionary units – mélanges and underthrust sheets. Underthrust sheets can be subdivided into smaller units, e.g. broken formations and olistostromal mélanges, mappable using traditional lithostratigraphic and structural mapping techniques. Unresolved controversies in reconstruction of the nature and history of the accretionary complex relate to specific mélange origins; megathrust versus subduction channel mélange models; chert conundrums; delineation of the ages, subdivisions, and regional architecture of Franciscan units; palinspastic reconstruction of the pre-Late Cenozoic architecture; and reconstruction of the complete histories of accretionary units.</p>