Crustal-scale shear zones can be highly important but complicated orogenic structures, therefore they must be studied in detail along their entire length. The Carthage-Colton mylonite zone (CCMZ) is one such shear zone in the northwestern Adirondacks of northern New York State (USA), part of the Mesoproterozoic Grenville province. The southern CCMZ is contained within the Diana Complex, and geochemistry and U-Pb zircon geochronology demonstrate that the Diana Complex is expansive and collectively crystallized at 1164.3 ± 6.2 Ma.
Major ductile structures within the CCMZ and Diana Complex include a northwest- dipping penetrative regional mylonitic foliation with north-trending lineation that bisects a conjugate set of mesoscale ductile shear zones. These ductile structures formed from the same 1060–1050 Ma pure shear transitioning to a top-to-the-SSE shearing event at ~700 °C. Other important structures include a ductile fault and breccia zones. The ductile fault formed immediately following the major ductile structures, while the breccia zones may have formed at ca. 945 Ma in greenschist facies conditions.
Two models can explain the studied structures and other regional observations. Model 1 postulates that the CCMZ is an Ottawan orogeny (1090–1035 Ma) thrust, which was later reactivated locally as a tectonic collapse structure. Model 2, the preferred model, postulates that the CCMZ initially formed as a subhorizontal mid-crustal mylonite zone during collapse of the Ottawan orogen. With continued collapse, a metamorphic core complex formed and the CCMZ was rotated into is current orientation and overprinted with other structures.