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Newly established early Cenozoic fossil localities within the "coastal belt" of Franciscan rocks recall the furor which developed before the last decade over occurrences of Cretaceous fossils within the Franciscan "Formation" of presumably Late Jurassic age. It is timely to consider again the question--what is Franciscan?--not only in regard to what physically constitutes the Franciscan, but also to what it should be called. The Franciscan is herein designated a complex, and is defined as the folded, faulted, and stratally disrupted basement terrane of the California Coast Ranges--including extensions into Oregon and Mexico--which is composed of graywacke, shale, minor conglomerate, radiolarian chert and siliceous shale, minor limestone, volcanic rocks, mafic-ultramafic p utonic rocks, and their zeolite-to-blueschist-facies metamorphic equivalents. Thus, the Franciscan Complex is shown to have both structural and lithologic significance. Other terms used in connection with Franciscan rocks are also defined.
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