Abstract

The Lithoprobe Slave – Northern Cordillera Lithospheric Evolution (SNORCLE) profiles crossed three major tectonic zones of the northwestern Canadian Shield and northern Canadian Cordillera that are diverse in age and in depth of penetration. The oldest (2630–2590 Ma), the Yellowknife River fault zone, formed as a strike-slip fault in a tensional strain regime. Reflector attenuation or truncations align vertically beneath the fault trace through much of the crust, implying a near-vertical fault plane. The youngest (60–10 Ma), the Tintina fault zone, produced cumulative dextral strike-slip displacements of 425 km, perhaps 800 km. Tomographic velocity and ray-trace models of reflection data indicate that several fault splays form a tectonic zone 30 km wide at the surface, but truncations of deeper crustal reflections suggest that the zone thins in the mid-crust and widens near the Moho. This apparent variable width versus depth of the Tintina fault is atypical of major strike-slip faults worldwide. The Teslin fault was an active terrane boundary during accretion of terranes onto North America. Observed reflection geometries indicate that the juxtapositions of highly contrasting metamorphic grades across the Teslin fault are confined to the upper crust along SNORCLE line 3, implying that the fault soles eastward into a mid-crustal detachment at the interpreted top of North American crust. The limited depth extent of the Teslin fault zone is similar to some models of the San Andreas fault and may result from their similar histories as convergent margin structures.

You do not currently have access to this article.