Journal article Open Access
Tarduno, John A.; McWilliams, Michael; Debiche, Michel G.; Sliter, William V.; Blake, M. C.
The Calera Limestone, part of the Franciscan Complex of northern California, may have formed in a palaeoenvironment similar to Hess and Shatsky Rises of the present north-west Pacific1. We report here new palaeomagnetic results, palaeontological data and recent plate-motion models that reinforce this assertion. The Calera Limestone may have formed on Farallon Plate plateaus, north of the Pacific–Farallon spreading centre as a counterpart to Hess or Shatsky Rises. In one model2, the plateaus were formed by hotspots close to the Farallon–Pacific ridge axis. On accretion to North America, plateau dissection in the late Cretaceous to Eocene (50–70 Myr) could explain the occurrence of large volumes of pillow basalt and exotic blocks of limestone in the Franciscan Complex. Partial subduction of the plateaus could have contributed to Laramide (70–40 Myr) compressional events3.