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The Taconic melanges of eastern New York developed through the progressive deformation of a synorogenic flysch sequence deposited within a N-S elongate foreland basin. This basin formed in front of the Taconic Allochthon as it was emplaced onto the North American continental shelf during the medial Ordovician Taconic Orogeny. The flysch was derived from, and was subsequently overridden by the allochthon, resulting in the formation of belts of tectonic melange. An east to west decrease in deformation intensity allows interpretation of the structural history of the melange and study of the flysch-melange transition. The formation of the melange involved: isoclinal folding, boudinage and disruption of graywacke-shale sequences due to ductility contrasts; sub-aqueous slumping and deposition of olistoliths which were subsequently tectonized and incorporated into the melange; and imbrication of the overthrust and underthrust sedimentary sections into the melange. The characteristic microstructure of the melange is a phacoidal conjugate-shear cleavage, which is intimately associated with high strains and bedding disruption. Rootless isoclines within the melange have apparently been rotated into an east-west shear direction, consistent with fault, fold, and cleavage orientations within the flysch. The melange zones are best modeled as zones of high shear strain developed during the emplacement of the Taconic Allochthon. Total displacement across these melange zones is estimated to be in excess of 60 kilometers.

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