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Title: The initiation and growth of transpressional shear zones through continental arc lithosphere, southwest New Zealand
Structural analyses combined with new U-Pb zircon and titanite geochronology show how two Early Cretaceous transpressional shear zones initiated and grew through a nearly complete section of continental arc crust during oblique convergence. Both shear zones reactivated Carboniferous faults that penetrated the upper mantle below Zealandia's Median Batholith but show opposite growth patterns and dissimilar relationships with respect to arc magmatism. The Grebe-Indecision Creek shear zone was magma-starved and first reactivated at ∼136 Ma as an oblique-reverse fault, along which an outboard batholith partially subducted beneath Gondwana. This system nucleated at or above ∼20 km depth and propagated downward at 2–3 mm yr−1, accumulating at least 35–45 km of horizontal (arc-normal) shortening by ∼124 Ma. In contrast, the magma-rich George Sound shear zone first reactivated in the lower crust (∼55 km depth) at ∼124 Ma and grew upward at ∼3 mm yr−1, reaching the upper crust by ∼110 Ma. In this latter system, magmatism influenced shear zone architecture and drove its growth while subduction and oblique convergence ended. As magma entered the roots of the system and began to solidify, deformation was driven out of the lower crust and into the middle crust where the system widened by a factor of three when fold-thrust belts formed on either side of a steep, central transpressional shear zone. This study illustrates how the reactivation of structural weaknesses localizes deformation at all depths in the lithosphere and shows how magma-deformation feedbacks influence shear zone connectivity and built a batholith from the bottom up.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1650219
NSF-PAR ID:
10409377
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Tectonics
ISSN:
0278-7407
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

    Structural analyses combined with new U‐Pb zircon and titanite geochronology show how two Early Cretaceous transpressional shear zones initiated and grew through a nearly complete section of continental arc crust during oblique convergence. Both shear zones reactivated Carboniferous faults that penetrated the upper mantle below Zealandia's Median Batholith but show opposite growth patterns and dissimilar relationships with respect to arc magmatism. The Grebe‐Indecision Creek shear zone was magma‐starved and first reactivated at ∼136 Ma as an oblique‐reverse fault, along which an outboard batholith partially subducted beneath Gondwana. This system nucleated at or above ∼20 km depth and propagated downward at 2–3 mm yr−1, accumulating at least 35–45 km of horizontal (arc‐normal) shortening by ∼124 Ma. In contrast, the magma‐rich George Sound shear zone first reactivated in the lower crust (∼55 km depth) at ∼124 Ma and grew upward at ∼3 mm yr−1, reaching the upper crust by ∼110 Ma. In this latter system, magmatism influenced shear zone architecture and drove its growth while subduction and oblique convergence ended. As magma entered the roots of the system and began to solidify, deformation was driven out of the lower crust and into the middle crust where the system widened by a factor of three when fold‐thrust belts formed on either side of a steep, central transpressional shear zone. This study illustrates how the reactivation of structural weaknesses localizes deformation at all depths in the lithosphere and shows how magma‐deformation feedbacks influence shear zone connectivity and built a batholith from the bottom up.

     
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