Deformation fabrics of faulted rocks, and some syntectonic stress estimates from the active Woodlark Basin detachment zone
Sybille Roller, Jan H. Behrmann, Achim Kopf, 2001. "Deformation fabrics of faulted rocks, and some syntectonic stress estimates from the active Woodlark Basin detachment zone", Non-Volcanic Rifting of Continental Margins: A Comparison of Evidence from Land and Sea, R. C. L. Wilson, R. B. Whitmarsh, B. Taylor, N. Froitzheim
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Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) Leg 180 investigated, in the western Woodlark Basin off Papua New Guinea, the nature and evolution of continental extension, eventually leading to crustal break-up and sea-floor spreading. At Moresby Seamount, the rift-related extension is localized at a recently active low-angle (30°) detachment fault, partly buried beneath a Pliocene–Pleistocene sedimentary synrift sequence. Data from three drillsites sample the detachment fault itself, secondary faults in its hanging wall and a steep normal fault cutting the footwall. The fault plane itself is manifested as a strongly altered fault gouge. Deformation of turbiditic sediments in several fault zones in the hanging wall is dominated by brittle mechanisms, and accompanied by intensive veining and pervasive diagenetic cementation. The metabasic rocks of the footwall below the detachment show an unusual transition from ductile to brittle deformation fabrics with increasing depth. Many fracture systems show evidence of repeated opening and healing during multistage hydrothermal mineralization. Syn-mylonitic microstructures and vein fill mineralogy suggest exhumation of the detachment footwall from considerable depth in the crust. Two palaeo-piezometers were applied to calcite-filled veins that show evidence of plastic deformation. Differential stress values of similar magnitude and probably close to the rock failure strength are found in both the hanging wall and footwall.
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Non-volcanic continental margins may form up to 30% all present-day passive margins, and remnants of them are preserved in mountain belts. The papers in this volume demonstrate the benefits of integrating offshore and onshore studies, and illustrate the range of information obtained at different scales when comparing evidence from land and sea. Data sets collected across a range of spatial scales are evaluated: thin sections, cores, outcrops, seismic reflection profiles, and other geophysical data. The outcrop scale is crucial because it enables the spatial gulf to be bridged between DSDP and ODP cores and marine seismic data. There is also the problem that basins on land and beneath the sea inevitably have had different post-rift histories resulting in their contrasting present-day elevation. In mountain belts, portions of continental margins and oceanic crust are superbly exposed, but dismembered by subsequent compressional tectonics. Off present-day passive margins, extensional features have only been slightly deformed, if at all, by compressional movements, but are buried beneath significant thicknesses of post-rift sediments and so can only be sampled by ocean drilling at a small number of points.
The first paper reviews the synergies that have occurred between investigations of the eastern North Atlantic non-volcanic margins and remnants of similar Mesozoic margins preserved in the Alps, and some later papers return to this theme. However, papers describing margins from other parts of the world show that it may be premature to use models based on the Atlantic and the Alps as the paradigm for all non-volcanic margins. The following 25 papers in the book are grouped under the following headings: (1) Margin overviews; (2) Exhumed crust and mantle; (3) Tectonics and stratigraphy; (4)Numerical models of extension and magmatism.