Abstract

Kinematic analysis of mélange fabrics provides critical information concerning tectonic processes and evaluation of the kinematics of ancient relative plate motion. Systematic kinematic analysis of deformed structures within a tectonic mélange exposed along the Zagros Suture Zone elucidates that this zone is an ancient transpressional boundary. The mélange is composed of a greywacke and mudstone matrix surrounding various lenses, blocks and ribbons of radiolarian chert, limestone, sandstone, pillow lava, tuff, serpentinite, shale and marl. The deformation fabrics of the mélange suggest that the mélange units were tectonically accreted at shallow levels within a subduction complex, resulting in layer-parallel extension and shearing along a NW–SE-trending suture that juxtaposes the Afro-Arabian continent to the south and the Central Iranian microcontinents to the north. The tectonic mélange is characterized by subhorizontal layer-parallel extension and subsequent heterogeneous non-coaxial shear resulting in alternating asymmetric and layer-parallel extensional fabrics such as P–Y fabrics and boudinaged layers. Kinematic data suggest that the mélange formed during oblique subduction of the Neo-Tethys oceanic lithosphere in Late Cretaceous time. Kinematic shear sense indicators reveal that the slip direction (N9°E to N14°E) during accretion-related deformations reflects the relative plate motion between the Afro-Arabian continent and Central Iranian microcontinents during Late Cretaceous to Miocene times.

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