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Geological Sciences

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Kinematic, kinematic vorticity (Wm), and deformation temperature analyses were completed to test the hypothesis that midcrustal rocks exposed in the core of the Kangmar gneiss dome, southern Tibet record ductile deformation patterns of a “frozen” segment of a southward flowing midcrustal channel. Microscopic and mesoscopic kinematic indicators exhibit a downward transition from a subequal mix of top-north and top-south shear in garnet zone rocks to dominantly top-north shear in staurolite/kyanite zone and deeper rocks. Kinematic vorticity values indicate an increase in pure shear component with depth from ∼48% pure shear in chloritoid zone rocks through ∼62% in garnet zone to staurolite/kyanite zone rocks to ∼68% pure shear in an orthogneiss, the deepest exposed rocks. Deformation temperatures inferred from grain-scale microstructures and quartz lattice preferred orientations increase from ∼300°C–400°C in chloritoid zone rocks to ≥600°C in the deepest exposed rocks. These temperatures are equivalent to temperatures derived from garnet-biotite thermobarometry, indicating that Wm was recorded during peak metamorphism. This ductile deformation zone was cut by the brittle southern Tibetan detachment system (STDS) that juxtaposed metasedimentary rocks upon the orthogneiss. On the basis of these relations, midcrustal rocks in the core of Kangmar Dome record: (1) general shear (vertical thinning and N–S horizontal extension) with a component of top-north shear during peak metamorphism within a ductile shear zone corresponding to the northern and deeper portion of the STDS, (2) an increase in pure shear with structural depth, a consequence of an increase in lithostatic load, and (3) displacement of the high-temperature shear zone by the brittle STDS. Our data are compatible with the deformation patterns predicted for the top part of a southward flowing midcrustal channel.




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