Geologic mapping and structural analysis of Baltica basement and overlying thrust nappes have yielded a record of the late exhumation history of high-pressure rocks, where strain partitioning has preserved evidence for interpreting the evolution of late structural features. The earliest of these were extensional detachments juxtaposing eclogite-facies rocks against overlying amphibolite-facies rocks that show no evidence for eclogite-facies metamorphism. These early detachments are strongly overprinted and complexly folded, and they represent a phase of upper crustal extension that was active during continued convergence at deeper levels. Younger more localized mylonite zones formed synchronously with tubular, sheath, isoclinal, tight and open folding that shows a progression from WNW to ENE trends. The earliest mylonite zones, interpreted as originally subhorizontal, range in strike through a 20° angle from 1100° to 90°. Later steeply dipping mylonite zones, formed under lower amphibolite-facies conditions, strike 75° and locally truncate earlier structures. The youngest mylonite zones, formed under lowest amphibolite conditions, strike 50° and truncate all earlier structures. Folds developed during this progression show the range in orientation from WNW to ENE reflected in the orientations of the mylonite zones that is interpreted to represent progressive evolution during top west shearing. These changes in orientation of the late structural features are interpreted to have been caused by changes in boundary conditions related to transtensional deformation during exhumation. L > S fabrics, absence of axial planar foliation, and chaotic orientations of axial surfaces of granulite to amphibolite-facies folds indicate formation in a constrictional strain field. This is also supported by estimates of the finite strain accumulated at ∼780°C and 45 km and similar observations by previous workers. Assuming a simple monoclinic deformation for transtension, strain estimates and structural measurements indicate apparent transtensional angles of 9-11° that increased to greater than 20° and then decreased to less than 20°. These changes in the transtensional angle agree with changes in the orientation of the X-Y plane of strain during exhumation from 45 km to less than ∼20 km depth and appear to reflect changes in the boundary conditions of deformation. This upper crustal transtension is interpreted to have occurred during continued sinistral oblique convergence and provides a mechanism for syncollisional exhumation of HP and UHP metamorphic rocks.
|Pages (from-to)||10-1 - 10-23|
|Number of pages||23|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2003|
- Western Gneiss Region