Geology 15                                                                                          West Valley College

Geology of California                                                                                  Robert Lopez

Study Questions 9

Metamorphic Rocks and Mesozoic California


1)      Read Harden, p. 31-33, and 37 (note especially Fig. 2-15).

2)      Define the following terms: metamorphism, protolith, and low, medium, and high grades of metamorphism.

3)      What are the differences between contact and regional metamorphism? 

4)      What is a roof pendant?

5)      What are two textural changes that commonly accompany metamorphism?

6)      What is foliation and how does it form?

7)      What was the protolith of each of the following: marble, meta-quartzite, and hornfels?  What texture do those rocks have in common?

8)      What was the protolith of each of the following, what textures do these rocks have in common, and how do these rocks differ texturally: slate, phyllite, schist, and gneiss?

9)      What was the protolith of greenschist and greenstone, and what is their metamorphic grade?

10)  What is blueschist, under what P-T conditions does if form, and what tectonic environment is it found in?

11)  What was the protolith of serpentinite, and what is its metamorphic grade (see Harden, plate 4)?  Most of the rocks shown in purple (Mesozoic ultramafic rocks) on the geologic map inside the front cover of your textbook are serpentinites.  What tectonic environment are these serpentinites associated with?

12)  Sketch the general regions of contact, “normal” regional, and blueschist metamorphism on a P-T diagram, and calibrate the axes of the diagram (e.g. sketch a diagram like Fig. 2-15).

13)  What is an Ophiolite (read pages 219-223, see Figure 9-9)?

14)  Sketch the continental margin of California from late Jurassic to late Cretaceous time (see next figure “California Margin” and Harden, Figs. 18-7 and 18-8, and her discussion of these figures on pages 490-493).  Include in this discussion the significance of the Franciscan Complex (Formation), Coast Range ophiolite, Great Valley sequence, and Sierra Nevada batholith. 

15)  Contrast the types of metamorphism in the Franciscan complex and the Sierra Nevada. 

16)  On the geologic map of California inside the front cover of your text, be able to identify the Franciscan complex (light green in Coast Ranges north of San Francisco), Coast Range ophiolite (very narrow band of purple ultramafic rocks immediately east of the Franciscan Complex), Great Valley sequence (mostly concealed beneath younger yellow rocks in Central Valley, but crops out as a relatively narrow band in the eastern most Coast Ranges north of San Francisco – green with diagonal lines), and Sierra Nevada batholith.


17)   Complete the table below for FOLIATED rocks:


Rock Type

Grain Size


Type of








































18)   Complete the table below for NON – FOLIATED rocks:


Rock Type

Grain Size



Type of






Coarse sand to Gravel








Sand Size









Mud Size