Abstract

Many of the dominant outcrop-scale structural features in the lower, clastic thrust sheets of the Humber Arm Allochthon were not generated during the westerly emplacement of the allochthonous terranes of western Newfoundland. Two general groups of structures are abundant in the Humber Arm rocks: (1) east-verging folds accompanied by a weakly to moderately developed slaty cleavage and cut by west-dipping thrust faults; and (2) northeast–southwest-striking high-angle faults, with predominantly normal oblique-slip motion and with larger faults down-stepping to the northwest. Evidence of the earlier, west-directed thrusting (refolded and downward-facing folds, folded thrusts, etc.) is uncommon in the Humber Arm area. Slaty cleavage-generation structures, however, appear to overprint the phacoidal fabrics of the mélange zones that exist between and within thrust slices of the allochthon, making the mélange fabrics the most readily identified features associated with the initial east over west imbrication and emplacement of the allochthon.These observations suggest that the original detachment of the rocks of the Humber Arm Supergroup from their basement (early Taconian deformation) occurred with only limited internal deformation. Mélange zones presently define some or all of the early surfaces of movement. The fully assembled and emplaced allochthonous terrane was subsequently reimbricated on a smaller scale through east-directed thrusting, at which time the allochthon was more pervasively deformed (regional slaty cleavage and fold formation). This may represent late Taconian back thrusting or Acadian shortening. The youngest deformation of the Humber Arm region appears to have been a regional extensional event, with a significant northeast–southwest strike-slip component of movement. This may correlate with the development of Carboniferous strike-slip basins in the present Gulf of St. Lawrence and western Newfoundland. Much of the present structural geometry in the Humber Arm region, including the contacts between ophiolitic and clastic thrust sheets, may have originated during these later two deformational sequences, rather than as a consequence of the initial emplacement history.

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