Abstract

Sutures are zones of weakness within orogenic belts that have the potential to become reactivated during orogenic evolution. The Robertson Lake shear zone marks a major tectonic boundary in the southeastern Grenville orogen of Canada that has been intermittently active for at least 130 m.y. The shear zone played a major role in the compressional stage of the orogenic cycle as well as during postorogenic collapse. The zone separates the Elzevir terrane to the west and the Frontenac terrane to the east. Sphene ages (U-Pb) indicate that these two terranes have distinct tectonothermal histories and that the shear zone represents a “cryptic suture.” In its current state, the shear zone is a low angle (30°ESE dip) plastic to brittle extensional shear zone that separates the Mazinaw (footwall) and Sharbot Lake (hanging wall) domains. Integration of structural, metamorphic, and chronologic data leads to a model that describes the complete evolution of this fundamental tectonic boundary that evolved from an early compressional zone (ca. 1030 Ma) to a late extensional zone (until at least 900 Ma).

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