Abstract

The late Archean Opatica granitoid-gneiss belt is situated within the northern Abitibi Subprovince, along the northern margin of the Abitibi greenstone belt. Approximately 200 km of structural section was mapped along three traverses within the previously unstudied Opatica belt. The earliest preserved structures are penetrative foliations and stretching and mineral lineations recording regional ductile shearing (D1). Late-D1 deformation was concentrated into kilometre-scale ductile fault zones, typically with L > S tectonite fabrics. Two families of lineations are associated with D1, indicating shearing both parallel and transverse to the east-northeast trend of the belt. Lineations trending east-northeast or northwest–southeast tend to be dominant within domains separated by major fault zones. In light of the abundant evidence for early north–south compression documented throughout southern Superior Province, including the Abitibi greenstone belt, D1 is interpreted in terms of mid-crustal thrusting, probably resulting in considerable crustal thickening. Movement-sense indicators suggest that thrusting was dominantly southward vergent. D2 deformation resulted in the development of vertical, regional-scale dextral and sinistral transcurrent fault zones and open to tight upright horizontal folds of D1 fabrics. In the context of late Archean orogenesis in southern Superior Province, the tectonic histories of the Abitibi and Opatica belts should not be considered separately. The Opatica belt may correlate with the present-day mid-crustal levels of the Abitibi greenstone belt, and to crystalline complexes within the Abitibi belt. It is suggested that the Abitibi Subprovince should be viewed, at the regional scale, as a dominantly southward-vergent orogenic belt. This work demonstrates that structural study of granitoid-gneiss belts adjacent to greenstone belts can shed considerable light on the regional structure and structural evolution of late Archean terranes.

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