Phanerozoic strike-slip faulting in the continental interior platform of the United States: examples from the Laramide Orogen, Midcontinent, and Ancestral Rocky Mountains
S. Marshak, W. J. Nelson, J. H. McBride, 2003. "Phanerozoic strike-slip faulting in the continental interior platform of the United States: examples from the Laramide Orogen, Midcontinent, and Ancestral Rocky Mountains", Intraplate Strike-Slip Deformation Belts, F. Storti, R. E. Holdsworth, F. Salvini
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The continental interior platform of the United States is that part of the North American craton where a thin veneer of Phanerozoic strata covers Precambrian crystalline basement. N- to NE-trending and W- to NW-trending fault zones, formed initially by Proterozoic/Cambrian rifting, break the crust of the platform into rectilinear blocks. These zones were reactivated during the Phanerozoic, most notably in the late Palaeozoic Ancestral Rockies event and the Mesozoic-Cenozoic Laramide orogeny — some remain active today. Dip-slip reactivation can be readily recognized in cross section by offset stratigraphic horizons and monoclinal fault-propagation folds. Strike-slip displacement is hard to document because of poor exposure. Though offset palaeochannels, horizontal slip lineations, and strain at fault bends locally demonstrate strike-slip offset, most reports of strike-slip movements for interior-platform faults are based on occurrence of map-view belts of en echelon faults and anticlines. Each belt overlies a basement-penetrating master fault, which typically splays upwards into a flower structure. In general, both strike-slip and dip-slip components of displacement occur in the same fault zone, so some belts of en echelon structures occur on the flanks of monoclinal folds. Thus, strike-slip displacement represents the lateral component of oblique fault reactivation; dip-slip and strike-slip components are the same order of magnitude (tens of metres to tens of kilometres). Effectively, faults with strike-slip components of displacement act as transfers accommodating jostling of rectilinear crustal blocks. In this context, the sense of slip on an individual strike-slip fault depends on block geometry, not necessarily on the trajectory of regional σ1. Strike-slip faulting in the North American interior differs markedly from that of southern and central Eurasia, possibly because of a contrast in lithosphere strength. Weak Eurasia strained significantly during the Alpine-Himalayan collision, forcing crustal blocks to undergo significant lateral escape. The strong North American craton strained relatively little during collisional-convergent orogeny, so crustal blocks underwent relatively small displacements.
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Intraplate Strike-Slip Deformation Belts
Intraplate strike-slip deformation belts are common tectonic features, particularly at convergent plate boundaries, where they are produced by both oblique convergence and continental indentation. These lithosphere-scale structures, which also occur in other geodynamic environments such as passive margins, are characterized by complex structural architectures, by the occurrence of large earthquakes, and by the fast uplift and/or subsidence of localized crustal sectors.
Intraplate strike-slip belts can also control the ascent and emplacement of deeply sourced magmas. In some cases, intraplate strike-slip belts link with oceanic fracture zones and transform faults, transferring transform shear from the ridges to the interior of the plates. This evidence has an important impact of the classical concept of transform faulting.
This volume contains 13 papers from an international field of contributors. Studies of intraplate strike-slip deformation belts from Africa, Antarctica, Eurasia, North America and South America are included.