In south-west Ireland, hydrothermally formed arsenopyrite crystals in a Devonian mudstone have responded to Variscan deformation by brittle extension fracture and fragment separation. The interfragment gaps and terminal extension zones of each crystal are infilled with fibrous quartz. Stretches within the cleavage plane have been calculated by the various methods available, most of which can be modified to incorporate terminal extension zones. The Strain Reversal Method is the most accurate currently available but still gives a minimum estimate of the overall strain. The more direct Hossain method, which gives only slightly lower estimates with this data, is more practical for field use. A strain ellipse can be estimated from each crystal rosette composed of three laths (assuming the original interlimb angles were all 60??) and, because actual rather than relative stretches are estimated, this provides a lower bound to the area increase in the plane of cleavage. Based on the average of our calculated strain ellipses this area increase is at least 114% and implies an average shortening across the cleavage of at least 53%. However, several lines of evidence suggest that the cleavage deformation was more intense and more oblate than that calculated, and we argue that a 300% area increase in the cleavage plane and 75% shortening across the cleavage are more realistic estimates of the true strain. Furthermore, the along-strike elongation indicated is at least 80%, which may be regionally significant. Estimates of orogenic contraction derived from balanced section construction should therefore take into account the possibility of a substantial strike elongation, and tectonic models that can accommodate such elongations need to be developed. ?? 1985.
Additional publication details
Cleavage strain in the Variscan fold belt, County Cork, Ireland, estimated from stretched arsenopyrite rosettes