- Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015
Central Mexico was subject to active tectonics related to subduction processes while it occupied a position in western equatorial Pangea during early Mesozoic time. The subduction of the palaeo-Pacific plate along the western North American and South American active continental margins produced volcanic arc successions which were subsequently rifted and re-incorporated to the continental margin. In this context, the fringing arcs are important in unravelling the continental accretionary record. Using petrographic analysis, detrital zircon geochronology and structural geology, this paper demonstrates that the Guerrero Arc (Guerrero Terrane) formed on top of a felsic volcaniclastic unit (Middle Jurassic La Pimienta Formation) and siliciclastic strata (Upper Triassic Zacatecas Formation and Arteaga Complex) of continental Mexican provenance, deposited across the continental margin and oceanic substrate. This assemblage was rifted away from continental Mexico to form an intervening oceanic assemblage (Upper Jurassic – Lower Cretaceous Las Pilas Volcanosedimentary Complex of the Arperos Basin), then accreted back more or less at the same place, all above the same east-dipping subduction zone. The accretion of the Guerrero Arc to the Mexican continental mainland (Sierra Madre Terrane) caused the deposition of a siliciclastic unit (La Escondida Phyllite), which recycled detritus from the volcaniclastic and siliciclastic underlying strata.