Abstract

The Hardangerfjord Shear Zone is a more than 600 km long low-angle extensional structure that affects the South Norway and North Sea Caledonides. The ductile shear zone, which shows total maximum onshore displacement of the order of 10–15 km, is primarily a basement structure with an associated passive, monoclinal fold structure of the overlying Caledonian nappes. Deep seismic data indicate that the shear zone continues down to the lower crust (20–25 km) at a dip of 22–23°, where it appears to flatten and merge with the general lower-crustal deformation fabric. Onshore, the Hardangerfjord Shear Zone consists of a system of hard-linked ductile shear-zone segments. Brittle faults (the Lœrdal–Gjende fault system) occur in the folded Caledonian allochthons in the NE part of the Hardangerfjord Shear Zone, and reappear in the North Sea. These may represent a high-level brittle response to the Devonian development of the Hardangerfjord Shear Zone, but were reactivated during Permo-Triassic and late Jurassic extensional events. A c. 5 km thick package of seismic reflectors along the Hardangerfjord Shear Zone is presumed to represent a mylonite zone, which is too thick to be formed entirely by 10–15 km of Devonian displacement. Hence the Hardangerfjord Shear Zone is likely to be a Proterozoic shear zone, reactivated during Devonian extension.

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