Evidence for non-plane strain flattening along the Moine thrust, Loch Srath nan Aisinnin, North-West Scotland.


We report quartz c-axis patterns, grain-shape fabrics, and microstructures for eleven mylonitic quartzites and quartz-phyllosilicate schists from a transect across the Moine thrust at Loch Srath nan Aisinnin, North-West Scotland. In the footwall samples collected more than 42 m normal distance from the thrust surface, quartz c-axis textures indicate a general flattening strain (i.e. 0 < k < 1). Samples within 19 m normal distance of the thrust are completely recrystallized and exhibit asymmetric c-axis patterns. Recrystallized hangingwall fault rocks exhibit random c-axis patterns on the scale of a standard thin section. Relict footwall grains provide the closest approximation of finite strain; they have octahedral shear strains (ϵs) between 1.10 and 1.47 and exhibit general flattening k-values (0.0524-0.659). The long axis of the mean relict grain shape trends parallel to the regional transport direction and plunges gently to the ESE. In contrast, recrystallized footwall grains have a mean grain shape with the longest axis oriented nearly perpendicular to the transport direction. Furthermore, these samples have grain shape k-values range from 0.157 to 0.295. Recrystallized hangingwall grain shapes exhibit the lowest octahedral shear strains (ϵs = 0.532-0.733) and largest mean k-values (0.351-0.961) of this sample set. The long axes of the mean recrystallized hanging wall grain shapes are parallel to transport, similar to that of relict footwall grains. Unrecrystallized quartz 2 overgrowths about opaque mineral grains suggest concurrent elongation in all directions within the mylonitic foliation and support the inference of general flattening deformation. The mylonitic foliation and penetrative lineation are consistent with a WNW shearing direction; however, both were folded during later deformation increments. Recrystallized grains in footwall quartzites suggest a 305° to 320° azimuth for the shearing direction. The best-fit π-axis of the poles to the foliation is 145:18, close to the mean trend/plunge of mesoscopic fold hinges at this site (153:21). Both suggest a NNW azimuth for the shearing direction. Thus, structural, microstructural and fabric indicators suggest a change in the azimuth of the shearing direction from -286 to -331°.



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Journal of Structural Geology



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c-Axes, Fold–thrust belts, Grain shape analysis, Kinematics, Moine, Mylonites, Non-plane strain, North-West Scotland, Preferred orientation, X-ray goniometry