Abstract

In the Central Gneiss Belt of the Grenville Orogen (Ontario), ca. 1020 Ma, extensional shearing, disharmonic buckle folding, and seismic faulting at middle to upper crustal levels affected the geological structure of pre-1040 Ma, ductile-thrust sheets. Because much of the repeated in situ deformation was mechanically discontinuous, the present contacts between thrust sheets may not coincide at all localities with the original thrust surfaces. We focused special attention on the basal contact of the Parry Sound domain, whose synformal structure may have resulted from gravitational subsidence of its dense rocks immediately after ductile thrusting. East of Wahwashkesh Lake, a transverse gradient of total strain is absent on horizontal scales of 100–1000 m in lithologically uniform granite gneiss comprising the uppermost western footwall of the northern Parry Sound domain. This contrasts with the steep transverse-strain gradients documented by others, on the same scale, in the wall rocks of Phanerozoic ductile thrusts. We hypothesize that ductile or brittle extension faulting may have removed a 10–20 km long sole-thrust segment at the western flank of the northern Parry Sound domain, together with severely strained rocks of the original uppermost footwall, from the level of the current erosion surface. Within the Parry Sound domain, by contrast, most if not all of the original footwall of the 1160 Ma Mill Lake thrust seems to be preserved at the presently exposed contact surface between the allochthonous basal and interior Parry Sound assemblages.

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