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Title: Contrasting deformation styles in the Domeyko Fault System, northern Chile.
Author: McElderry, Susie.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3623 9150
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 1998
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Subduction of an oceanic plate under the Pacific margin of South America has heen prevalent since Jurassic times. Magmatic and deformation centres have migrated eastward since suhduction began. Northern Chile houses two north-south trench linked strike-slip fault systems, the Atacama Fault Zone and the Domeyko Fault System (DFS). The DFS lies within the Chilean Precordillera from 2 10 to 28°S. Lateral movement began on the DFS in the Eocene. The DFS can be divided into three segments which have apparently undergone differing deformation histories. This study has focused on the central segment of the DFS, to determine fault kinematics and to establish a relative chronology of deformation. Observations have been made in more detail than previous investigations and have heen used to infer the deformation history . Shallow level faulting has resulted in heavily fractured zones with occasional slickenline surfaces. It is difficult to infer kinematics of faulting from these. Much effort has been expended in developing techniques to analyse fracture patterns associated with brittle faulting under conditions of plane strain, simple shear. A novel approach of analysing the shapes of clasts of rock defined by secondary fractures within a fault zone has been used. The clasts approximate ellipses when viewed in 2 dimensions. Combining ellipse orientation and aspect ratio from mutually perpendicular sections through the fault zone allowed calculation of an ellipsoid representative of the clasts of rock in 3 dimensions. Independent determination of the fault kinematics using stratigraphic relationships across the fault, fracture distribution, incremental strain axes and palaeomagnetic analysis has all owed evaluation of the new technique. The shapes of rock clasts are found to be related to the kinematics of the fault system. Up to a critical stage of development of the fault zone the axes of the rock clasts parallel the slip direction, intermediate strain axis and pole to the boundary faults. Which rock clast axis parallels which structural feature depends upon the spacing and curvature of fractures and stage of development of the fault zone. Analysis of the shapcs or rock clasts defined by fractures can avoid bias of the data set towards thicker fractures or against irregular fractures, which can occur when measuring fracture orientations directly. The degree of development of the fault zone varies laterally along the fault over short distances. This causes the shape.: fabric of the rock clasts to change, so predictions of connectivity within a fault zone are limited. The history of the central segment of the DFS determined from this study is found to occur with earlier workers. The complementary deformation histories produced from two scales of ohservation verifies the reliability of the chronology. Lateral movements along the DFS are thought to begin in the Eocene with a sinistral transpressive event which occurred along all three segments of the DFS. En echelon folds, east and west verging thrusts and clockwise rotations associated with sinistral faulting along the master fault of the segment are documented. Later, in the Oligocene, dextral faulting occurred. large clockwise palaeomagnetic rotations, determined from Palaeozoic samples beside the master fault, indicate sinistral displacements have been larger than dextral disp acements. It is inferred that only one episode of large lateral transport occurred. This is the Eocene sinistral event. Normal faulting associated with sinistral displ acements along the western side of the system are documented. This later sinistral faulting has not been documented before in the central segment of the DFS. After Oligocene age dextral faulting, the three segments of the DFS underwent separate deformation histories, as the main Andean deformation foci had moved eastward.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Fault kinematics; Fracture patterns; Plane strain