Abstract

Recent mapping in the western Wawa subprovince (the Vermilion district and its westward extensions in Minnesota) has identified a major, northeast-trending stratotectonic break, informally called the Leech Lake structural disconformity (LLSD), that separates two contrasting terranes. North of the LLSD are elongate, east-northeast-trending, fault-bounded panels of volcanic rocks, which are mostly north topping and homoclinal. South of the LLSD, large-scale, northwest-trending folds involve basaltic sequences that are stratigraphically overlain by thick sections of dacitic volcaniclastic and turbiditic rocks. However, the most prominent outcrop-scale deformational features are northeast-trending vertical folds and associated axial-planar cleavage related to transpression in D2. D1 minor folds and cleavage are rare.New field data indicate that the large folds in a predominantly sedimentary part of the southern terrane are early formed (D0–D1), and nappe-like. The precise form of the early folds is largely obscured by (i) superimposed folds and metamorphism contemporaneous with D2, (ii) faulting that began in D2 and outlasted folding, and (iii) emplacement of the Giants Range batholith and associated plutons. Nevertheless, the presence in the southern terrane of large areas of shallow-plunging, downward-facing rock sequences and the map pattern of rock units imply that a large south-verging, northwest-plunging thrust nappe (or nappes) antedated D2. Where the nappe lacked thick, rigid volcanic layers, accommodation to D2 transpression took the form of abundant Z folds. Much of the observed Z asymmetry of F2 folds may have resulted from compression and shear oblique to the trend of rock units. In contrast, early thrusts are inferred to have positioned volcanic units north of the LLSD such that their strike was nearly perpendicular to D2 compression, and therefore F2 folds did not develop extensively.

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