Spatiotemporally heterogeneous deformation, indirect tectonomagmatic links, and lithospheric evolution during orogenic activity coeval with an arc flare-up
Broad overlap between deformation and magmatism in active margins has spurred the development of a conceptual framework of direct tectonomagmatic links in both active and ancient arcs. Although widespread and highly influential, such models have only rarely been critically evaluated. Rigorously linking tectonism, geodynamics, lithospheric evolution, and arc activity requires detailed reconstructions of the spatiotemporal patterns of magmatism and deformation across both a sufficiently wide area and a range of observational scales. Herein, new constraints on the timing, extent, and characteristics of deformation during mid-Cretaceous tectonism in the central Sierra Nevada (eastern California, USA) are synthesized with published geologic mapping, structural studies, and geochronology to create an updated reconstruction of one of the type examples of a hot, magma-rich orogen. Tilted strata, tectonic fabrics, and shear zones with variable geometries, kinematics, intensity, and timing reveal a significantly revised record of ~25 m.y. of heterogeneous deformation ca. 105–80 Ma. Deformation and magmatism show distinct and unrelated spatiotemporal patterns throughout this orogenic episode. Contrary to previous models of direct tectonomagmatic links, many of which were developed in the central Sierra Nevada, arc activity did not control the location, intensity, or kinematics of intra-arc deformation, nor did shear zones control the location of magmatism. Furthermore, arc lithosphere appears to have strengthened, rather than weakened, as the arc-orogenic flare-up proceeded. In addition to changing plate-scale boundary conditions, lithospheric-scale rheological evolution likely played a key role in the patterns of Late Cretaceous deformation observed across strike of the entire Cordilleran margin.
National Science Foundation
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Snir Attia, Scott R. Paterson, Dazhi Jiang, and Robert B. Miller. "Spatiotemporally heterogeneous deformation, indirect tectonomagmatic links, and lithospheric evolution during orogenic activity coeval with an arc flare-up" Geosphere (2022): 1752-1782. https://doi.org/10.1130/GES02478.1