Gneiss domes occur in a wide variety of orogenic and anorogenic domains of the continental crust, and play a major role in lithosphere dynamics by allowing upwards transfer of heat and mass. They commonly contain a core of granites and/or migmatites, overlain by a mantle of lower-grade rocks. Evolutionary models of many gneiss domes are controversial.
Here we use new structural and zircon isotopic data to unravel the tectono-magmatic evolution of the Yalgoo dome and surroundings, at the margins of the Neoarchean Yilgarn Orogen, Western Australia. The study area includes at least seven granite–migmatite domes (5–70 km in average diameter), and several subdomes within the larger domes, all showing comparable structural features and age. In each dome, a concentric domal foliation is concordant with granite–greenstone contacts, bearing a radial, outward-plunging lineation. The bulk of the structures in each dome reflect magmatic flow, with pervasive subsolidus fabrics occurring only along the outer dome margins, and reflecting dome-up kinematics. Narrow greenstone keels pinched between domes and subdomes display vertical constriction, in an area regionally dominated by flattening along the steep sides of the deeply-eroded domes, and along the flat-laying dome roofs.
The regional structural pattern and the kinematics of the high-strain zones are best explained by sequential emplacement of nested diapirs, which delivered large volumes of granitic magma in a c. 20 Myr time-span. The dome-and-keel regional architecture and the internal structures of each dome resulted therefore from multiscale polydiapirism. These diapirs were later weakly overprinted by a tectonic fabric that developed during the Neoarchean Yilgarn Orogeny. The contrast between the Yalgoo region and the rest of the craton, which was strongly reworked by this orogeny, highlights the dichotomy of tectonic styles in Archean terranes, demonstrating that diapirism dominated in times of tectonic quiescence.
- Structural geology
- Quartz crystallographic preferred orientation
- Zircon isotopes