During the 1990s, the hypothesis that emerged for the Sierra Nevada was of a range that acquired most of its elevation during the Neogene as a dense mafic residuum foundered into the mantle. The opportunity to learn about such a process without the complications of a subducting slab led to a series of investigations to determine where, when, and how dense residuum was removed, what changes to topography, heat flow, igneous activity, faulting, and sedimentation were produced and what the mechanism of removal was. Coincident with this was a developing controversy over whether Sierran topography was young or originated in the early Tertiary. The papers in this themed issue address these issues from several perspectives: (1) geophysical and geochemical investigations of modern lithospheric structure, (2) geological, petrological, and geochemical work constraining the lithospheric structure prior to ∼12 Ma, (3) geological, sedimentological, and geochronological work bearing on the evolution of uplift and subsidence, and (4) numerical and analytical modeling seeking to relate the geological observations to deep-seated processes.
- Received 5 February 2013.
- Accepted 6 February 2013.
- © Geological Society of America