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Goscombe, B., Hand, M. and Gray, D. 2003. Structure of the Kaoko Belt, Namibia: progressive evolution of a classic transpressional orogen. Journal of Structural Geology, 25(7): 1049-1081


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Structure of the Kaoko Belt, Namibia: progressive evolution of a classic transpressional orogen.

Summary / Notes:

The Kaoko Belt portion of the Damara Orogen, Namibia, is the deeply eroded core of a sinistral transpressional orogen that has half-flower structure geometry centred on the major, 4–5-km-wide Purros Mylonite Zone. Formed between the Congo Craton in the east and Rio De La Plata Craton in Brazil, the Kaoko Belt represents the northern coastal arm of a triple junction within the Pan-African Orogenic System. Consisting of reworked Archaean, Palaeoproterozoic and Mesoproterozoic basement and a cover of Neoproterozoic Damara Sequence, the Kaoko Belt can be sub-divided structurally into three parallel NNW-trending zones. The Eastern Kaoko Zone comprises sub-greenschist facies shelf carbonates that have been uprightly folded. The Central Kaoko Zone contains a slope and deep basin facies succession that has experienced intense deformation, including pervasive reworking of basement into large-scale east-vergent nappes. The Western Kaoko Zone is predominantly deep basin facies of high metamorphic grade intruded by numerous granites. It has experienced intense wrench-style deformation with formation of upright isoclines and steep, crustal-scale shear zones. The Kaoko Belt evolved through three distinct phases of a protracted Pan-African Orogeny in the late Neoproterozoic to Cambrian. (1) An early Thermal Phase (M1) was responsible for pervasive partial melting and granite emplacement in the Western Kaoko Zone from 656 Ma. (2) The Transpressional Phase produced the geometry of the belt by progressive sinistral shearing between 580 and 550 Ma. Deformation was continuously progressive through two stages and involved both temporal and spatial migration of deformation outwards towards the margin. The early strike-slip Wrench-Stage produced a high-strain L–S fabric by sub-horizontal transport. Deformation became progressively more transpressive, with high-angle convergence and flattening strains during the Convergent-Stage. In this stage, strike-slip movements evolved through multiple fold generations, progressively steeper stretching lineations, west over east verging large-scale nappes and overfolds and ultimately thrusts with shortening at a high-angle to the orogen. The pervasive L-S fabric was continually reworked and was both folded by nappes and partitioned into sub-vertical crustal-scale shear zones forming at the same time in the core of the orogen. (3) A post-transpression Shortening Phase, with large-scale, upright, open folds formed during minor N–S shortening along the length of the belt (a phase of deformation correlated with high-angle convergence in the Inland Branch of the Damara Orogen at 530–510 Ma). Keywords: Namibia, Pan-African Orogeny, Orogen architecture, Transpression, Shear zone, Damara Orogen.

Year: 2003

Type: Journal Article

URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0191814102001505


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