Development of local orthorhombic fabrics within a simple-shear dominated sinistral transpression zone: the Arronches sheared gneisses (Iberian Massif, Portugal)
Published:January 01, 2004
M. Francisco Pereira, J. Brandão Silva, 2004. "Development of local orthorhombic fabrics within a simple-shear dominated sinistral transpression zone: the Arronches sheared gneisses (Iberian Massif, Portugal)", Flow Processes in Faults and Shear Zones, G. I. Alsop, R. E. Holdsworth, K. J. W. McCaffrey, M. Hand
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The Coimbra–Cordoba shear zone (Iberian Massif), characterized by simple-shear dominated sinistral transpression, exposes several outcrops of strongly sheared peralkaline gneisses surrounded by mica schists and amphibolites. These gneisses are included in the Arronches Tectonic Unit, a thick unit of mylonitic rocks with a steep foliation and an associated gently plunging stretching lineation parallel to the fold axes. Strain partitioning is testified by widely spaced anastomosing shear bands around less-strained domains and by the existence of different shearing domains ranging from relatively ‘less-strained’ and coarse-grained mylonites to highly strained and fine-grained ultramylonites.
Three shearing domains defined by textural and structural changes resulted from progressive deformation and increasing strain, which leads to increased mylonitization of gneisses. This is revealed by the increased modal percentage of the matrix and the decreased percentage of porphyroclasts, accompanied by evolution from orthorhombic to monoclinic fabrics: Conjugate Shearing Domain (CSD), Intermediate Sinistral Domain (ISD), and Sinistral Domain (SD).
This contribution shows that in a simple-shear sinistral dominated transpression zone with a well-developed and widespread monoclinic fabric, it is possible to find mechanical conditions to produce local orthorhombic fabrics. In the Arronches gneisses a local strain regime exists in apparent contradiction with the bulk deformation regime.
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Flow Processes in Faults and Shear Zones
Faults and their deeper level equivalents, shear zones, are localized regions of intense deformation within the Earth. They are recognized at all scales from micro to plate boundary, and are important examples of the nature of heterogeneous deformation in natural rocks. Faults and shear zones are significant as they profoundly influence the location, architecture and evolution of a broad range of geological phenomenao The topography and bathymetry of the Earth’s surface is marked by mountain belts and sedimentary basins that are controlled by faults and shear zoneso In addition, faults and shear zones control fluid migration and transport including hydrothermal and hydrocarbon systems. Once faults and shear zones are established, they are often long-lived features prone to multiple reactivation over very large time-scales. This collection of papers addresses lithospheric deformation and the rheology of shear zones, together with processes of partitioning and the unravelling of fault and shear zone histories.