Structural geology of the Usakos Dome in the Damara Belt, Namibia

Johnson, Shannon D. (2005-12)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The northeast-trending south Central Zone (sCZ) of the Pan-African Damara belt in central Namibia is structurally characterized by kilometer-scale, northeast-trending dome structures developed in Neoproterozoic rocks of the Damara Sequence. A number of different structural models have been proposed for the formation of these domes in the literature. This study describes the structural geology of the Usakos dome. The study discusses the structural evolution of the dome within the regional framework of the cSZ that represents the high-grade metamorphic axis of the Damara Belt, characterized by voluminous Pan-African granitoids. The northeastern part of the Usakos dome is developed as an upright- to northwestverging anticlinorium containing a steep southeasterly-dipping axial planar foliation. The northeast fold trend persists into the southwestern parts of the Usakos dome. However, this southwestern core of the dome is inundated by synkinematic granitic sheets. Distinct marker horizons of the Damara Sequence outcrop as screens within the granite, preserving a ghost stratigraphy. These screens illustrate the position and orientation of second-order folds. Significantly, most of the stratigraphy of the Damara Sequence is overturned in these folds. For example, some second-order anticlines developed in the northeastern parts of the Usakos dome can be followed along their axial traces into the southwestern hinge of the dome, where they appear as synformal anticlines, i.e. synformal structures cored by older strata, plunging towards the northeast. The inverted stratigraphy and northeasterly fold plunges suggest the northeast-trending folds are refolded by second-generation, northwest-trending folds, thus, forming kilometer-scale Type-2 interference folds. The resulting fold geometries are strongly non-cylindrical, approaching southwest-closing sheath folds indicating a top-to-the-southwest material transport. Lower-order folds in this overturned domain show radial fold plunges, plunging away from the centre of the dome core, as well as a shallowly-dipping schistosity. The close spatial and temporal relationship between granite intrusion and the formation of the southwest-vergent, sheath-type folds, radial distribution of fold plunges and the subhorizontal foliation confined to the southwestern hinge of the Usakos dome are interpreted to signify the rheological weakening and ensuing collapse of the developing first-order Usakos dome immediately above the synkinematic granite intrusions. Orogenparallel, southwest-vergent sheath folds and top-to-the southwest extrusion of the southwestern parts of the Usakos dome and northwest-vergent folding and thrusting characterizing the northeastern extent of the Usakos dome are both responses to the northwest-southeast- directed contractional tectonics recorded during the main collisional phase in the Damara belt. On a regional scale, the Usakos dome represents the link between the foreland-vergent northeastern part of the sCZ and the southwest-vergent, high-grade southwestern parts of the sCZ. The results of this study illustrate how dramatic variations in structural styles may be caused by the localized and transient rheological weakening of the crust during plutonic activity.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die noordoos-strekkende, suidelike Sentrale Sone (sSS) van die Pan-Afrikaanse Damara gordel in sentraal Namibië word karakteriseer deur kilometer-skaal, noordoosstrekkende koepel strukture, ontwikkel in die Neoproterozoïkum gesteentes van die Damara Opeenvolging. 'n Aantal verskillende struktuur modelle is voorgestel in die literatuur vir die vorming van hierdie koepels. Hierdie ondersoek beskryf die struktuur geologie van die Usakos koepel. Die ondersoek bespreek die strukturele ontwikkeling van die koepel in die regionale konteks van die sSS, wat die hoë graadse metamorfe magmatiese as van die Damara Gordel verteenwoordig, en karakteriseer word deur omvangryke Pan-Afrikaanse granitoïede. Die noordoostelike gedeelte van die Usakos koepel is ontwikkel as 'n antiklinorium met 'n vertikale- tot noordwestelike kantelrigting. wat 'n steil hellende, suidoostelike asvlak planêre foliasie bevat. Die noordoos-strekkende plooiing kom voor tot in die suidwestelike kern van die Usakos wat ingedring is deur sinkinematiese granitiese plate. Die posisie en oriëntasie van tweede-orde plooie is afgebeeld in die graniete deur 'n skimstratigrafie wat preserveer is deur duidelike merker horisonne van die Damara Opeenvolging. Die stratigrafie van die Damara Opeenvolging is opmerklik meestal omgekeer in hierdie plooie. Byvoorbeeld, tweede-orde antikliene ontwikkel in die noordoostelike gedeelte van die Usakos koepel kan gevolg word langs hul asvlakspore tot in die suidwestelike skarnier van die koepel, waar dit voorkom as sinforme antikliene, d.w.s. sinforme strukture met ouer strata in die kern wat na die noordooste duik. Die omgekeerde stratigrafie en noordoostelike plooi duiking impliseer dat die noordoosstrekkende plooie weer geplooi is deur tweede-generasie, noordwes-strekkende plooie, wat dus aanleiding gegee het tot die vorming van kilometer-skaal, tipe-2 interferensie plooie. Die gevolglike plooi geometrieë is uitdruklik nie-silindries, en toon 'n oorgang na skede plooie met 'n sluiting na die suidweste, wat dui op 'n bokant-na-die-suidweste materiaal vervoer. Laer-orde plooie in die omgekeerde domein vertoon radiale duiking van die plooie, weg van die middelpunt van die koepel kern, sowel as 'n vlak hellende skistositeit. Die noue ruimtelike en temporele verwantskap tussen graniet intrusie en die vorming van skede-tipe plooie met 'n kantelrigting na die suidweste, die radiale verspreiding van plooi duiking, en die subhorisontale foliasie wat beperk is tot die suidwestelike skarnier van die Usakos koepel, word interpreteer as 'n aanduiding van die reologiese verswakking en die gevolglike ineenstorting van die ontwikkelende eerste-orde Usakos koepel, onmiddellik aan die bokant van die sinkinematiese graniet intrusies. Die orogeenparalleie skede plooie met kantelrigting na die suidweste en bokant-na-die-suidweste ekstrusie van die suidwestelike gedeelte van die Usakos koepel, en plooiing met kantelrigting na die noordweste en stootverskuiwing wat kenmerkend is van die noordoostelike gedeelte van die Usakos koepel, is beide 'n reaksie op die noordwessuidoos- gerigte vernouings tektoniek opgeteken gedurende die hoof botsings fase in die Damara gordel. Op 'n regionale skaal verteenwoordig die Usakos koepel die verbinding tussen die noordoostelike gedeelte van die sSS met 'n voorland kantelrigting. en die hoë graad suidwestelike gedeelte van die sSS met 'n kantelrigting na die suidweste. Die resultate van hierdie ondersoek toon aan hoe dramatiese variasies in struktuur style veroorsaak kan word deur die gelokaliseerde en kortstondige reologiese verswakking van die kors gedurende plutoniese aktiwiteit.

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