Orthorhombic fault - fracture patterns and non-plane strain in a synthetic transfer zone during rifting: Lennard shelf, Canning basin, Western Australia

John Miller, E.P. Nelson, M. Hitzman, P. Mucilli, W.D.M. Hall

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    Abstract

    A complex series of faults occur within transfer zones normal to the WNW-trending rifted northern margin of the Canning basin (Western Australia). These zones controlled basinal fluid flow and the formation of some carbonate-hosted Mississippi Valley-type Zn-Pb deposits along the basin margin during Devonian to Carboniferous rifting. The study area has a regional fault geometry similar to a synthetic overlapping transfer zone. Surface and underground mapping in this transfer zone, combined with 3D modelling, indicate the faults and related extension fractures have an orthorhombic geometry. The orthorhombic fault-fracture mesh developed in response to three-dimensional non-plane strain in which the intermediate finite extension magnitude was non-zero. Pre-mineralisation marine calcite fill in the fault-fracture mesh indicates that it formed early in the deformation history. Later deformation that overprints the Zn-Pb mineralisation and fault-fracture mesh, was associated with a different maximum extension direction and this modified and reactivated the faults with both dip-slip and oblique-slip movement and tilting of earlier structures. The orthorhombic geometry is not observed at a regional scale (>10 x 10 km), indicating probable scale-dependant behaviour. This study indicates that this transfer zone developed either by (1) strain partitioning with synchronous strike-slip structures and adjacent zones of non-plane extension, or (2) by a component of non-plane extension sub-parallel to the basin margin followed by subsequent transtensional overprint of the system (preferred model). Synthetic overlapping transfer zones are inferred to be key regions where orthorhombic fault geometries may develop. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1002-1021
    JournalJournal of Structural Geology
    Volume29
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

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