Formation and inversion of transtensional basins in the western part of the Lachlan Fold Belt, Australia, with emphasis on the Cobar Basin

R. A. Glen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Palaeozoic history of the western part of the Lachlan Fold Belt in New South Wales was dominated by strike-slip tectonics. In the latest Silurian to late Early Devonian, an area of crust >25,000 km2 lying west of the Gilmore Suture underwent regional sinistral transtension, leading to the development of intracratonic successor basins, troughs and flanking shelves. The volcaniclastic deep-water Mount Hope Trough and Rast Trough, the siliciclastic Cobar Basin and the volcanic-rich Canbelego-Mineral Hill Belt of the Kopyje Shelf all were initiated around the Siluro-Devonian boundary. They all show clear evidence of having evolved by both active syn-rift processes and passive later post-rift (sag-phase) processes. Active syn-rift faulting is best documented for the Cobar Basin and Mount Hope Trough. In the former case, the synchronous activity on several fault sets suggests that the basin formed by sinistral transtension in response to a direction of maximum extension oriented NE-SW. Structures formed during inversion of the Cobar Basin and Canbelego-Mineral Hill Belt indicate closure under a dextral transpressive strain regime, with a far-field direction of maximum shortening oriented NE-SW. In the Cobar Basin, shortening was partitioned into two structural zones. A high-strain zone in the east was developed into a positive half-flower structure by re-activation of early faults and by formation of short-cut thrusts, some with strike-slip movement, above an inferred steep strike-slip fault. Intense subvertical cleavage, a steep extension lineation and variably plunging folds are also present. A lower-strain zone to the west developed by syn-depositional faults being activated as thrusts soling into a gently dipping detachment. A subvertical cleavage and steep extension lineation are locally present, and variably plunging folds are common. Whereas Siluro-Devonian basin-opening appeared to be synchronous in the western part of the fold belt, the different period of basin inversion in the Cobar region (late Early Devonian and Carboniferous) may reflect different movement histories on the master strike-slip faults in this part of the fold belt, the Gilmore Suture and Kiewa Fault.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)601-620
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Structural Geology
Volume12
Issue number5-6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

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