Abstract

A numerical analysis of fault populations was applied in the Quebec and northern New Brunswick Appalachians to characterize paleostress fields attributed to the Taconian and Acadian orogenies. The first brittle deformation documented in the external domain of the Humber Zone is associated with the thin-skinned tectonics of the Taconian orogen. The Taconian brittle deformation, characterized by north–south to NE–SW reverse conjugated brittle faults, evolved under a pure shear compressional regime (vertical σ3 axes) with σ1 axes oriented ESE–WNW. The ENE–WSW dextral and NW–SE sinistral faults that are observed in the St. Lawrence Lowlands are also attributed to Taconian compression. The first brittle deformation recognized in the Dunnage Zone and the Gaspé Belt is attributed to an ESE–WNW compression during the Acadian Orogeny. In the Dunnage Zone of southern Quebec, the Acadian paleostress axes are similar to the directions of σ1 axes and to the pure shear compressional regime computed for the Silurian and Devonian rocks of the Gaspé Belt. In the Gaspé Peninsula, the Acadian stresses are oriented ESE–WNW and are mechanically compatible with transpressional regimes. Reverse brittle faults and pure shear stress are identified along regional and secondary sets of NE–SW brittle faults, whereas a strike-slip stress regime is reconstructed along major east–west faults. In the Humber Zone of the Quebec Appalachians, a second compression is identified. It is characterized by conjugate ENE– WSW dextral and NW–SE sinistral strike-slip faults that crosscut Taconian thrust faults. This late deformation event is attributed to a distal expression of the Acadian Orogeny.

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