Abstract

The steeply dipping Shagawa Lake shear zone, which strikes ENE through the Vermilion District of the Superior Province in northeastern Minnesota, is marked by zone-parallel foliation and a mineral elongation lineation (Le). Le includes (i) a broad population with pitch of 90° ± 60°, and (ii) a less abundant population with pitch of 15° ± 15°. Shallowly plunging Le is rare, and where it occurs, it overprints the pervasive steeply plunging Le. Shear sense indicators occur within the L–S tectonite motion plane, normal to foliation and parallel to Le. Microstructures define both south-side-up and north-side-up displacement domains, but no spatial patterns emerge across the shear zone. L–S tectonites with east-plunging Le indicate either south- or north-side-up shear parallel to Le, whereas L–S tectonites with west-plunging Le indicate predominantly north-side-up shear parallel to Le. Strike-slip L–S tectonites are rare, but consistently record sinistral shear. Overprinting relationships and structural-kinematic patterns can be attributed to sinking of the Vermilion District volcanic basin and relative rise of the southern region followed by rise of the northern region, as represented by the Giants Range Batholith and Vermilion Granitic Complex, respectively. Structural and kinematic evidence indicates that a process like sagduction–diapirism could explain the rising granitoids and sinking volcanic basin. The narrow width of the shear zone, the need for structural dates and radiometric dates of the surrounding plutons, and lack of documented strike-slip kinematic data make it difficult to evaluate when and how the shear zone transitioned to horizontal displacement.

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