Numerous NNE and NE striking strike-slip faults and associated normal faults, folds, and transtensional grabens occur in the Thebes Gap area of Missouri and Illinois. These structures developed along the northwestern margin of the buried Reelfoot rift of Precambrian-Cambrian age at the northern edge of the Mississippi embayment. They have had a long-lived and complex structural history. This is an area of recent moderate seismicity, approximately 45 km north of the New Madrid seismic zone. Stratigraphic evidence suggests that these faults were active during the Middle Ordovician. They were subsequently reactivated between the Early Devonian and Late Cretaceous, probably in response to both the Acadian and Ouachita orogenies. Deformation during this period was characterized by strongly faulted and folded Ordovician through Devonian rocks. In places, these deformed rocks are overlain with angular unconformity by undeformed Cretaceous strata. Fault motion is interpreted as dominantly strike slip. A still younger period of reactivation involved Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic formations as young as the Miocene or Pliocene Mounds Gravel. These formations have experienced both minor high-angle normal faulting and subsequent major, right-lateral strike-slip faulting. En echelon north-south folds, ENE striking normal faults, regional fracture patterns, and drag folds indicate the right-lateral motion for this major episode of faulting which predates deposition of Quaternary loess. Several nondefinitive lines of evidence suggest Quaternary faulting. Similar fault orientations and kinematics, as well as recent seismicity and proximity, clearly suggest a structural relationship between deformation at Thebes Gap and tectonism associated with the New Madrid area.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Strike-slip faulting at Thebes Gap, Missouri and Illinois; implications for New Madrid tectonism|