Abstract

The nature of oblique plate interactions is not yet well understood. The oblique interaction of Pacific and N American plates has resulted in large scale migration, rotation and accretion of microplates. Intervening basins are ephemeral, individually filled and deformed. Oblique motion results in zones of both compression and extension. The latter may be sufficient to generate new oceanic crust and the former to obduct it. Both subduction and collision are restricted in time and space. The resulting orogen is extraordinarily complex in detail. The far more complicated Hercynides are the result of dextral interaction between continental plates—Europe and Africa. The lateral variability of the orogen, the major and long-lived strike-slip faults, the bimodal volcanism and related ore deposits of the European trough, the Lizard ophiolite and its mélanges, the NW Spanish ophiolites and the Iberian Pyrite Belt are all explained using an oblique collision model. In particular the generation, deformation and obduction of ophiolites in oblique-slip mobile zones is discussed.

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