Abstract

Western Superior Lithoprobe seismic-reflection line 1 exhibits a broad region of northward-dipping reflectors in the Uchi subprovince, which gives way to southward-dipping reflectors farther north in the Berens River subprovince. Mafic metavolcanic rocks across the region of northward-dipping reflectors exhibit a decline in metamorphic pressure, from pressures of 6 kbar (1 kbar = 100 MPa) in the south to only 2 kbar 80 km to the north. This indicates that the southern edge of the Uchi subprovince has undergone significantly more unroofing than regions farther north. The differential unroofing is not consistent with a doubly vergent thrusting origin for the northward- and southward dipping reflector pattern. It could result from a crustal-scale synform, of which the region of northward-dipping reflectors would make up the southern limb. Metamorphic pressures from samples off the seismic line, however, provide only limited support for a regional synform, and suggest that much of the pressure variation may result from deformation associated with motion on late faults that are widespread in the western Superior Province. These faults occur in a WNW-striking set with dextral offsets and an ENE-striking set with sinistral offsets. They could result from north– south compression and east–west extension, provided the faults have rotated towards the east–west direction during deformation. Regional tilting and (or) jostling of crustal blocks is attributed to deformation associated with the fault rotation. Motion on the faults and the associated deformation of intervening fault blocks may be important contributors to the present crustal architecture of the western Superior Province, including the surface distribution and form of the greenstone belts.

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