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Kinematic analysis of melange fabrics: Examples and applications from the McHugh Complex, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska

Journal of Structural Geology

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DOI: 10.1016/S0191-8141(99)00105-4

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Abstract

Permian to Cretaceous melange of the McHugh Complex on the Kenai Peninsula, south-central Alaska includes blocks and belts of graywacke, argillite, limestone, chert, basalt, gabbro, and ultramafic rocks, intruded by a variety of igneous rocks. An oceanic plate stratigraphy is repeated hundreds of times across the map area, but most structures at the outcrop scale extend lithological layering. Strong rheological units occur as blocks within a matrix that flowed around the competent blocks during deformation, forming broken formation and melange. Deformation was noncoaxial, and disruption of primary layering was a consequence of general strain driven by plate convergence in a relatively narrow zone between the overriding accretionary wedge and the downgoing, generally thinly sedimented oceanic plate. Soft-sediment deformation processes do not appear to have played a major role in the formation of the melange. A model for deformation at the toe of the wedge is proposed in which layers oriented at low angles to ??1 are contracted in both the brittle and ductile regimes, layers at 30-45??to ??1 are extended in the brittle regime and contracted in the ductile regime, and layers at angles greater than 45??to ??1 are extended in both the brittle and ductile regimes. Imbrication in thrust duplexes occurs at deeper levels within the wedge. Many structures within melange of the McHugh Complex are asymmetric and record kinematic information consistent with the inferred structural setting in an accretionary wedge. A displacement field for the McHugh Complex on the lower Kenai Peninsula includes three belts: an inboard belt of Late Triassic rocks records west-to-east-directed slip of hanging walls, a central belt of predominantly Early Jurassic rocks records north-south directed displacements, and Early Cretaceous rocks in an outboard belt preserve southwest-northeast directed slip vectors. Although precise ages of accretion are unknown, slip directions are compatible with inferred plate motions during the general time frame of accretion of the McHugh Complex. The slip vectors are interpreted to preserve the convergence directions between the overriding and underriding plates, which became more oblique with time. They are not considered indicative of strain partitioning into belts of orogen-parallel and orogen-perpendicular displacements, because the kinematic data are derived from the earliest preserved structures, whereas fabrics related to strain partitioning would be expected to be superimposed on earlier accretion-related fabrics.Permian to Cretaceous melange of the McHugh Complex on the Kenai Peninsula, south-central Alaska includes blocks and belts of graywacke, argillite, limestone, chert, basalt, gabbro, and ultramafic rocks, intruded by a variety of igneous rocks. An oceanic plate stratigraphy is repeated hundreds of times across the map area, but most structures at the outcrop scale extend lithological layering. Strong rheological units occur as blocks within a matrix that flowed around the competent blocks during deformation, forming broken formation and melange. Deformation was noncoaxial, and disruption of primary layering was a consequence of general strain driven by plate convergence in a relatively narrow zone between the overriding accretionary wedge and the downgoing, generally thinly sedimented oceanic plate. Soft-sediment deformation processes do not appear to have played a major role in the formation of the melange. A model for deformation at the toe of the wedge is proposed in which layers oriented at low angles to ??1 are contracted in both the brittle and ductile regimes, layers at 30-45?? to ??1 are extended in the brittle regime and contracted in the ductile regime, and layers at angles greater than 45?? to ??1 are extended in both the brittle and ductile regimes. Imbrication in thrust duplexes occurs at deeper levels within the wedge. Many structures within melange of the McHugh Complex are asymmetric and record

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Kinematic analysis of melange fabrics: Examples and applications from the McHugh Complex, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska
Series title:
Journal of Structural Geology
DOI:
10.1016/S0191-8141(99)00105-4
Volume
21
Issue:
12
Year Published:
1999
Language:
English
Publisher:
Elsevier Science Ltd
Publisher location:
Exeter, United Kingdom
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Journal of Structural Geology
First page:
1773
Last page:
1796
Number of Pages:
24