Strain Partitioning along Terrane Bounding and Intraterrane Shear Zones: Constraints from a Long-Lived Transpressional System in West Gondwana (Ribeira Belt, Brazil)

F. M. Faleiros, B. V. Ribeiro, G. A.C. Campanha, P. A. Cawood, D. I.G. Cabrita, M. T.A.G. Yogi, L. A. Milani, D. V. Lemos-Santos, V. V. Almeida, S. W.O. Rodrigues, I. S. Malta, A. J. Forero-Ortega

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14 Citations (Scopus)


Shear zones are zones of localized high strain accommodating differential motion in the lithosphere and impacting the crustal rheology and deformational history of orogenic belts. Although terrane bounding shear zones are widely studied, intraterrane shear zones and their tectonic significance, especially in association with supercontinent assembly, is a largely unexplored topic. The Ribeira Belt (SE Brazil), a Neoproterozoic-Cambrian orogenic belt from West Gondwana, is dissected by a crustalscale NE-trending transcurrent shear zone system that juxtaposes composite terranes. Despite its extensive coverage and complexity, this shear zone system remains poorly investigated. In this paper, we explore the thermal and deformational regimes, and timing of ductile shearing using a multiscale approach combining structural analysis derived from remote sensing and field-based structural data, microstructures, quantitative structural analysis, and multimineral U–Pb geochronology (zircon, titanite, monazite, and xenotime). Our data, combined with previously published data, indicate a transitional northeastward increase in metamorphic conditions from lower greenschist to granulite facies conditions (from 250–300 to 750–800°C), reflecting the different crustal levels that are exposed. Vorticity and finite strain data indicate a complex strain regime with varied contributions of pure and simple shear and oblate-shape ellipsoids in strike-slip shear zones and prolateshaped ellipsoids in dip-slip reverse shear zones. The strain set suggests that all shear zones were developed under subsimple shear deformational regimes involving thrusting and folding followed by wrench tectonics. The pure shear component of deformation was accommodated in folded domains between shear zones. Geochronological data suggest intermittent ductile shear zone activations from ca. 900–830 to 530 Ma, partially coeval with at least two major episodes of terrane accretion at 850–760 Ma and 610–585 Ma. The spatial and temporal record of shear zones within the Ribeira Belt indicates that some relate to assembly of the belt and represent either terrane bounding structures (e.g., Itapirapuã shear zone) or intraterrane structures (e.g., Ribeira, Figueira, and Agudos Grandes shear zones), whereas others are terrane bounding, postcollisional shear zones (e.g., Taxaquara shear zone) reactivated in an intracontinental setting (560–535 Ma).

Original languageEnglish
Article number2103213
Number of pages29
Issue numberSpecial Issue 6
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2022

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