GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA - 2019

Paper No. 45-4
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-5:30 PM


RAE, Claire M., BAILEY, Christopher M. and SKELTON, Tyler, Department of Geology, College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187

Neoproterozoic rocks exposed in the Jebel Akhdar massif of northern Oman preserve glaciogenic deposits associated with multiple Cryogenian glaciations. Although the depositional history of these rocks is well understood, the significance of post-depositional deformation is poorly constrained. In this study, we examine low-grade metasedimentary rocks exposed in the Ghubrah Bowl, an erosional window in the Jebel Akhdar massif, in order to quantify the three-dimensional finite strain, understand the deformation mechanisms, and determine the timing of deformation events.

In the Jebel Akhdar massif, the older Ghubrah (Sturtian glaciation) and younger Fiq (Marinoan glaciation) formations comprise a >1 km thick sequence of diamictite interbedded with sandstone, siltstone, and conglomerate. Diamictites contain abundant clasts of siltstone and sandstone, with lesser amounts of granite and metavolcanic rock in a fine-grained quartz + sericite matrix. Clasts range from granules to boulders. Harder clasts tend to be subangular and poorly aligned with low aspect ratios, whereas fine-grained rock clasts are well-aligned with large aspect ratios. Bedding generally dips to the NW, but is gently folded in accord with the overall structure of the Jebel Akhdar massif. A penetrative foliation strikes E-W and dips to the S. At some locations, a prominent elongation lineation/pencil structure occurs and plunges gently to moderately to the S.

Rf/phi strain analysis in the diamictites reveals a range of 3D strain geometries (apparent flattening to apparent constriction) with strain ratios up to 2.8 in XZ sections. Strain is strongly partitioned, as clasts of igneous rock have low aspect ratios and are only weakly aligned. Penetrative strain in clast-supported sandstones is negligible (XZ ratios of <1.2). Outsized clasts of granite and sandstone are mantled by distinctive wing-like pressure shadows (double-duckbill structures) that include more recrystallized minerals than elsewhere in the diamictite. Sericite within pressure shadows is chemically different from sericite in the matrix and in fine-grained clasts, consistent with syn-tectonic mineral growth. 40Ar/39Ar geochronology is being utilized to determine the age of sericite growth and regional deformation.