Sie sind auf Seite 1von 57

GEOL 451-2010

Geology of North America


Review of some Lithotectonic Principles
Updated January 2011

University
Universityof
ofRegina
Regina
GEOL 451-2011
GEOL 451-2011
R.
R.Macdonald,
Macdonald,Instructor
Instructor
Coverage in this presentation

Uniqueness and interactive nature of the


Earth system
Basic Earth Structure
Lithotectonic entities

Largely from Condie p.14 onwards


An Approach to Earth Processes
1. PETROCENTRIC
Processes concerning only rocks of the earths crust and
mantle, e.g. sedimentation, metamorphism, even diagenesis
But rocks react with the biosphere, oceans and atmosphere
Climate factor, asteroids, flood, tsunamis, etc
Earth physiology - Jim Lovelocks GAIA hypothesis
The earth system maintains itself through positive feedbacks

2. TIME-CENTRIC
Geologists tend to think in very long periods of time
But some earth processes can occur very rapidly
A return to CATASTROPHISM?
Uniqueness of the Earth and interaction of the
Earth Elements

Need to consider the entire Earth system: earth-ocean-atmosphere


Earth physiology: James Lovelocks Gaia Hypothesis
Feedback loops (+) and (-)
Recycling lithosphere
Knowledge explosion of the past 15 or so years
Tuzo Wilson (1968):
Data collecting
Hypotheses (transient)
New unifying theories
The whole earth system
Earth cooling

Crustal recycling Crustal evolution Thermal history

ET impacts Life history

Metamorphism Life Oceans


Crust Atmosphere Climate

Tectonism and Magmatism


tectonic history Solar radiation
Earths axial tilt
Earths
Magnetic
Mantle hotspots core-mantle
fields
Weathering
1 Fundamental Earth Structure

1. Rigid lithosphere
rests on weaker
asthenosphere

2. Lithosphere is
fragmented into
segments and
plates in relative
motion which
continually
change shape
and size
What are some of the major
lithotectonic features of the Earth?
Intraplate - Continental
Cratons: Shields and Platforms
Precambrian Shields
Relatively stable older cratons, generally Precambrian and without a cover
of Phanerozoic rocks.

Continental platforms
Relatively stable older cratons overlain by oval shaped Phanerozoic
sedimentary, shallow water, ssts, lsts, shales, deltaic and fluvial, commonly
not much more than 1000 m thick
Intraplate -
Continental

Buried
Precambrian
Shields, cored
with older
cratons
aka Platforms
Relatively stable older
cratons, generally
Precambrian but with a cover
of Phanerozoic rocks.
Intraplate - Continental
(Intra)cratonic basins, aka ENSIALIC
basins (2)
Deep, sometimes formed over failed rifts
Other causes (see Kent)
Epicontinental seas, some evaporites (e.g. Prairie
Evaporite)
Examples:Williston, Hudson Bay and Michigan basins,
Amadeus and Carpentaria basins of Australia, Paris Basin,
Parana Basin, Chad basin.
Sedimentary and volcanic loading produces crustal
densification on cratons and continental platforms. Interior
sag basins
Diverse origins, extension, thermal effects, higher density
of underlying crust
Typically have the longest timeframe
Intraplate - Continental
(Intra)cratonic basins, aka ENSIALIC
basins
Intraplate - Continental

Inland-sea basins
Major I style, typically dormant
Overlie continental crust,
connected intermittently to open
seas, or cut off with extensive
saline de[posits
e.g. Black Sea
Caspian Sea
Gulf of Mexico
Regional Crustal Subsidence due to local sediment loading
Example: Gulf of Mexico
and Mississippi River

Sediments delivered by
major river systems
eventually deposit a non-
negligible load on the crust,
resulting in some
subsidence. This provides
accommodation (space) for
further sediment loading.
(positive feedback).

NOTE: Some
reinforcement by petroleum
extraction
Basin Formation
Due to sags produced in the
crust by diverse
mechanisms:
Magma depletion
Isostatic compensation: melting
of ice caps
Deep crustal/mantle
underthrusting
Magma accession:
emplacement of higher
temperature melts in the crust
Basement block movements by
a variety of causes
Load deepening
etc.
Some basin
subsidence
mechanisms
Robert
Robert
Macdonald:
Macdonald:
WhydoContinents
WhydoContinents
BreakUp?
BreakUp?
Intraplate - Continental
TheEarth'sinterioris
TheEarth'sinterioris
hot.Theheatcomes
hot.Theheatcomes
fromtheheatof
fromtheheatof
formationoftheEarth
formationoftheEarth
Continental Rifts
thathasnotyet
thathasnotyet
dissipatedandheat
dissipatedandheat
Largely recognized today as formed over Mantle hotspots/plumes
generatedbydecayof
generatedbydecayof
unstableisotopes
May be a sign of incipient plate movements, marking the beginning of continental
unstableisotopes
distributedthroughthe
distributedthroughthe
break-up
mantleandcrust.
mantleandcrust.
Why do continents break-up?
Whilethelithosphere
Whilethelithosphere
coolsprimarilyby
coolsprimarilyby
conduction,themantle
conduction,themantle
coolsbyconvection.
coolsbyconvection.
Mostoftheconvective
Mostoftheconvective
heatfromthemantle
heatfromthemantle
isdissipatedatthe
isdissipatedatthe
midoceanridgesand
midoceanridgesand
throughcooling
throughcooling
seafloor.Beneath
seafloor.Beneath
largecontinents,
largecontinents,
however,heatbuilds
however,heatbuilds
upinthemantle.This
upinthemantle.This
excessheatshould
excessheatshould
weakenthe
weakenthe
continentallithosphere
continentallithosphere
makingiteasiertorift.
makingiteasiertorift.
Robert
Robert
Macdonald:
Macdonald:
WhydoContinents
WhydoContinents
BreakUp?
BreakUp?
Intraplate - Continental
TheEarth'sinterioris
TheEarth'sinterioris
hot.Theheatcomes
hot.Theheatcomes
fromtheheatof
fromtheheatof
formationoftheEarth
formationoftheEarth
thathasnotyet
thathasnotyet
Some causes of continental rifts
dissipatedandheat
dissipatedandheat
generatedbydecayof
generatedbydecayof
unstableisotopes
unstableisotopes
Earths interior contains formational and isotope-generated heat
distributedthroughthe
distributedthroughthe
mantleandcrust.
Lithospheric crust cools by conduction, but the
mantleandcrust.
Whilethelithosphere
Whilethelithosphere
Mantle cools by convection dissipated at MORS and ocean floors
coolsprimarilyby
coolsprimarilyby
conduction,themantle
Beneath large continents heat builds up in the Mantle, weakening
conduction,themantle
coolsbyconvection.
coolsbyconvection.
the Crust
Mostoftheconvective
Mostoftheconvective
heatfromthemantle
Relatively higher membrane stress in equatorial regions due to
heatfromthemantle
isdissipatedatthe
isdissipatedatthe
higher amount of earth curvature
midoceanridgesand
midoceanridgesand
throughcooling
Trench rollback at subduction zones
throughcooling
seafloor.Beneath
seafloor.Beneath
Hotspots/plumes (randomly formed)
largecontinents,
largecontinents,
however,heatbuilds
however,heatbuilds
upinthemantle.This
upinthemantle.This
excessheatshould
excessheatshould
weakenthe
weakenthe
continentallithosphere
continentallithosphere
makingiteasiertorift.
makingiteasiertorift.
Intraplate - Continental
The East African rift system showing
the Afar Triangle as a triple-junction at
the intersection of the Red Sea, Aden
and East African rifts. Possibly the
expression of a mantle plume.
Diverging rifts starts a new round of
continental drifting and ultimately
creates new ocean floor. Dots
indicate young volcanoes.
Intraplate - Continental
The East African rift system showing
the Afar Triangle as a triple-junction at
the intersection of the Red Sea, Aden
and East African rifts. Possibly the
expression of a mantle plume.
Diverging rifts starts a new round of
continental drifting and ultimately
creates new ocean floor. Dots
indicate young volcanoes.

But not so simple


Intraplate - Continental
1. Initial doming and normal faulting.
2. As lower crust & lithosphere thins by ductile
shear, heat flow increases and normal
faulting occurs in the brittle upper crust.
3. Increased heat flow produces bimodal
(basaltic and rhyolitic) volcanism
4. Subsiding rift basins collect infill sediments .
5. If rifting continues the crust/lithosphere thins
to zero and seafloor spreading is initiated
Sediments on continental passive margins
drape drape over normal faulted basement
6. After the initial thinning,margins continue
to subside for tens of millions of years by
continued cooling and loading subsidence
Intraplate - Continental
RRR Triple Junctions and Aulocogens
If rifting stops before complete continental breakup, the failed rift or aulocogen
infills with sediments and be buried in the subsurface, perhaps to be re-
exposed by some later episode of erosion or be discovered by seismic
exploration.

Aulocogens are commonly associated with continental breakup. Continental


rifts seem to start as a number of rift-rift-rift triple junctions. Two of the rift arms
become a new ocean basin and the third becomes a failed rift, although it may
still be active as a continental rift system. The East African rift (EAR) appears to
be a modern example, as ti is the failing arm from the triple junction including
the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.

See also
Basin and Range
Half grabens
East African Rift
Transcurrent rifting
Intraplate - Continental
Rift-related igneous activity:
bimodal volcanic signature
distinctive trace element geochemistry
continental rift basalts are enriched in alkalis (K, Ba, Rb), and
incompatible elements, LIL.
deep mantle-plume contribution
mantle fluids and metasomatism.
lithospheric mantle contribution

Other features:
distinctive trace element geochemistry
with sediment traps, accommodation space
arkoses, immature sediments
half grabens
fault driven sedimentation: alluvial fans and debris flows
Along-strike changes = segmentation and depocentres
every rift basin is unique
Intraplate - Continental

The failed third arm


(called an aulocogen)
is a topographic low.
Many major rivers
in the world flow
down aulocogens
e.g. Amazon,
Mississippi, Niger, St.
Lawrence, Rhine, and
parts of the Nile
Intraplate Oceanic Crust
Oceanic plateaux
Ocean basins - sag basins pelagic
clays, oozes, turbidites
Volcanic islands/ seamounts/guyots
Produced by Mantle plume
hotspots - long-lived structures
fixed within the mantle.
Lithospheric plates move over
them, typically in a datable track.
e.g. Hawaii, Yellowstone, Galapagos
Intraplate Oceanic
Mantle plume hotspot tracks

Ages in million years


Intraplate Oceanic
Intraplate Oceanic
Long lived global hotspots
Divergent - Continental
Proto-oceanic troughs
Red Sea <5 Ma oceanic crust in centre, thick salt
deposits due to ocean cut off

Passive margins
Continental rises and terraces (prisms/wedges,
continental crust thinned, transitory and
oceanic crust, can include pelagic turbidite.
May be caused by densification by
metamorphism
e.g. Eastern N. America seaboard. Stable EA coast
Divergent - Continental
Detailed Cross-section of a Passive Margin
Cretaceous &
Atlantic Margin Jurassic salt
Cenozoic sediments

What is the relative Triassic rift valley sediments


age of the basalt?
Divergent - Oceanic
MORs (Mid-oceanic rifts)
Divergent - Oceanic

Oceanic
Crustal
Age revealed
against
passive
margins
Convergent - Intraoceanic
Oceanic volcanic arcs
with intra-arc basins
Deep sea trenches arc-trench gaps
(containing fore-arc basins) active volcanic
(island arc) arc back-arc


Convergent - Intraoceanic
Two oceanic slabs
converge; one subducts
The subducted slab
produces melting in the
overlying mantle wedge
Magma Is less dense
than overlying crust /
lithosphere and rises as
volcanoes.
If the volcanoes emerge
as islands, a volcanic
island arc (or archipelago)
is formed
e.g. Japan, Aleutian
islands, Tonga islands
Oceanic Back-Arc Basins
1. Back-arc basins (or retro-arc
basins) are submarine basins
associated with island arcs and
subduction zones
2. Found at some convergent
plate boundaries, presently
concentrated in the Western
Pacific Ocean
3. Most result from tensional
forces caused by oceanic
trench rollback rollback and the
collapse of the edge of the
continent
4. Back-arc basins were not
predicted by plate tectonic
theory, but are consistent with
the dominant model for how
Earth loses heat
Ocean ic Back-Arc Basins
Convergent - Continental Common when two

continents collide and the


buoyant continental
Continent:Continent with lithosphere does not
subduction subduct
Any original trenches are
eliminated
Collision then thickens the
crust, along the suture
separating the original
continents
Crustal thickening then
responds isostatically,
producing a large mass of
buoyant continental crust
e.g. Himalayas, Alps,
Appalachians
North-south profile across the eastern Alps. Subsurface profile from
seismic reflection data. After Adrian Pfiffner
Convergent -
Continental

Continent:Conti
nent with
subduction
Example from
Part of Africa the
breaks away ca. 50
Himalayas
Ma ago
Travelled to the north at ca. 10
cm/annum
Is subducted under continental
Asia, cause it to rise in elevation
Plate movements continue today,
so Hilary had it a few centimetres
easier to climb Everest than
todays climbers
Cause of the Indonesian tsunami
Convergent - Continental
Convergent - Continental

Head 0n
with
obductio
n
Convergent - Continental

Obduction
styles
Convergent Continental
Margin
Products:
Deep sea trenches
Trench slope
subduction basins
Accretionary
complexes
Mlange
Foreland arcs
Fore-arc basins
Crustal melting occurs above the
Intra arc basins descending slab producing batholithic rocks
Back-arc basins surmounted by volcanic. Sediments are
Foreland fold-thrust derived mainly from the arc and are
siliclastic Sediments are subducted or
belts scraped off into the accretionary complexes
e.g. Sunda, Aleutian, Peru-Chili, and Japan.
Convergent Continental
Margin

Vertical sequence:
Volcanic arc
Crust (sub-arc
lithosphere
TTG)
2. Upper Mantle
wedge
1. Subducting slab
Convergent Continental
Margin
Convergent Continental
Margin
Convergent Continental
Margin and Oceanic

Transcurrent (strike slip &


transform)

Transtensional
Transpressional
Transrotational
Intracontinental
wedge basins
Transcurrent (strike slip &
transform)
Transform faults
Most transforms are prominent linear breaks associated with mid-ocean
ridge segments.
Known as fracture zones these occur between offsets in the spreading
ridge.
Fracture zones are a geometrical necessity due to the fact that sea-
floor genesis occurs on a SPHERE.
Suspect terranes
This term applies to a terranes which have been brought in from a long
distances, exotic in nature to the terranes they now abut.
With accurate age-dating and other methods of establishing
provenance it may be possible where the suspect terranes come from,
and how far they have travelled
Analysis of such terranes is the main basis for constructing paleo maps
Plate Tectonic Mechanisms
No one mechanism accounts for
all major facets of plate tectonics
Convective flow in the plastic
2,900 km-thick mantle is the best
option
Other mechanisms generate
forces that contribute to plate
motion.
Slab-pull on cold plate in
subduction zone
Ocean ridge-push
Gravitational sliding on
oceanic ridges
The Six Major Types of Sedimentary Basin
(with examples)

Indonesia
Nevada E. Africa
Offshore Calif. Michigan Basin E. Coast NA

Six major types of sedimentary basins are shown in their plate-


tectonic settings. The major physical cause or causes of
subsidence for each case are shown below on above the diagram.
Seismicity related to Subduction
A scheme relating igneous rocks
to plate tectonics