2005 Salt Lake City Annual Meeting (October 16–19, 2005)

Paper No. 10
Presentation Time: 4:00 PM


DIAZ TUSHMAN, Kira, Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, 1 University Station C1100, Austin, TX 78712-0254, LAUBACH, Stephen E., Bureau of Economic Geology, John A. and Katherine G. Jackson School of Geosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, University Station, P.O. Box X, Austin, TX 78713-8924 and GOMEZ, Leonel A., Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, tush@mail.utexas.edu

Discovery of previously unrecognized pervasive cement-filled microfracture arrays in Cambrian Eriboll Group Sandstones provide new information on the tectonic history of these otherwise slightly deformed rocks. These populations of microfractures filled with cement form a structural fabric in many rocks deformed at upper crustal conditions. They are partially visible in transmitted light as fluid-inclusion planes but are obvious using SEM-based cathodoluminescence (CL), which delineates their shapes, sizes, and cross cutting relationships. Using a method for collecting mosaics of high-resolution CL-imagery, allows for an accurate and repeatable measurements of strain within these sandstones.

Ranging in length from microns to millimeters, but sharing size distributions with larger fractures, microfractures are divisible into three sets having the same orientations as large fractures. Based on crosscutting relations, the sets strike from oldest to youngest: N to NNE, WNW, and WNW to ENE. These may reflect deformation before, during, and after emplacement of the Moine Thrust Zone. Cumulative apertures along a line of observation record strains of as much as 4.9 percent for the oldest, N to NNE-striking fracture sets. Both small and large fractures are inclined normal to ESE-dipping beds. These fracture orientations with respect to tilted beds and local overprint of opening fracture sets by faults associated with the MTZ, indicates that N to NNE-striking fractures likely formed prior to tilting of the Cambro-Ordovician before emplacement of the MTZ. Based on increased abundance near the fault zone and kinematically compatibility, some WNW-striking fractures result from WNW emplacement of the MTZ. Some WNW- to ENE-striking fractures, which are youngest based on crosscutting relations, are locally bridged by quartz containing crack-seal texture but otherwise retain porosity in fractures having apertures >0.1 mm. Residual porosity in fractures implies that after they formed fractures cooled to less than a quartz accumulation threshold of about 80ºC. Preliminary diagenetic analysis of these patterns suggests that they formed in the Mesozoic or later, and some of these open fractures are localized near probable Mesozoic or Tertiary WNW- to ENE-striking normal faults.