Abstract

The Montréal area belongs to the St Lawrence Lowlands, a Cambrian Early Ordovician passive margin of the Iapetus Ocean, later covered by Appalachian Middle to Upper Ordovician foreland deposits. A structural and palaeostress analysis has been carried out in order to reconstruct its tectonic evolution. The structural map has been revised with new data. Palaeostresses are reconstructed based on inversion of fault slip data, and these results are independently corroborated by the microstructural study of calcite mechanical twinning. Field relationships are used to establish the relative chronology of fractures and to deduce the motion on regional faults. The reconstructed structural and tectonic evolution brings to light some relationships between structural inheritance and tectonic events that have affected the area since Early Palaeozoic times. An early NW–SE extension is responsible for N040-trending faults along the northern border of the St Lawrence Lowlands, and for N090- and N120-trending faults cross-cutting the Montréal area. This extension is followed by WNW–ESE and NNW compressions, which have induced reverse motion on pre-existing faults and generated strike-slip conjugate faults. Subsequent NE–SW and NNW–SSE-directed extensions have reactivated previous faults with normal to strike-slip motions. A late NE–SW compression is recorded in the Monteregian plutons. Compressions in WNW–ESE and NNW directions are consistent with Appalachian collisional tectonism, but N040- and N090-trending faults cross-cut Appalachian folds and foreland deposits. Although the early NW–SE extension is consistent with the collapse of the Iapetan margin in Early Palaeozoic times, most of the present geometry of the St Lawrence Lowlands could be attributed to Mesozoic tectonism, recorded as nearly N–S-directed extensional events.

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