Deformation in a complex crustal-scale shear zone: Errabiddy Shear Zone, Western Australia
Published:January 01, 2004
S. A. Occhipinti, S. M. Reddy, 2004. "Deformation in a complex crustal-scale shear zone: Errabiddy Shear Zone, Western Australia", Flow Processes in Faults and Shear Zones, G. I. Alsop, R. E. Holdsworth, K. J. W. McCaffrey, M. Hand
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Detailed mapping of four areas representing different geological units with varying formation histories within the crustal-scale Errabiddy Shear Zone shows an apparently simple temporal progression from foliation and mineral lineation development to folding and then to brittle deformation across the shear zone. However, in detail the structural evolution of the shear zone shows considerable complexity. The dominant foliation throughout the shear zone was formed in the upper greenschist to amphibolite facies during the 2000–1960 Ma Glenburgh Orogeny, which involved the accretion of the Archaean to Palaeoproterozoic Glenburgh Terrane onto the Archaean Yilgarn Craton and the subsequent formation of the Errabiddy Shear Zone. Orthorhombic kinematic indicators formed during the Glenburgh Orogeny as did the widespread mineral lineation. These fabrics were overprinted by a greenschist facies deformation and metamorphic event during the 1830–1780 Ma Capricorn Orogeny. During the Capricorn Orogeny mineral lineation development was rare, and mostly took place in high-Capricorn strain zones in areas where a pre-existing Glenburgh-aged mineral lineation was present. Such mineral lineations trend parallel to Capricorn-aged fold hinges. Regardless of the presence or absence of Capricornaged mineral lineations, dextral strike-slip kinematics and simple shear indicated by delta and sigma porphyroclasts, and displacement along detachment faults, are prevalent close to discrete shear zone boundaries, within the Errabiddy Shear Zone. However, between shear zone boundaries flattening and coaxial strain dominated during the Capricorn Orogeny. This difference in Capricorn Orogeny kinematics throughout the shear zone is caused by strain partitioning – although progressive deformation throughout the shear zone with dextral strike-slip faults overprinting older structures formed by pure shear also took place. These results suggest that analyses of small parts of shear zones may not give the complete history of an evolving transpressional shear zone because of the presence of strain partitioning and strain localization over time.
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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.