Geometryof growth strata in a transpressive fold belt in field and analogue model:Gosau Group at Muttekopf, Northern Calcareous Alps, Austria
H. Ortner, A. Kositz, E. Willingshofer and D. Sokoutis
Journal name: Basin Research
Issue: Vol 28, No 6, December 2016 pp. 731 - 751
Info: Article, PDF ( 18.73Mb )
The thrust sheets of the Northern Calcareous Alps were emplaced during Late Cretaceous thrustdominated transpression expressed by thrust sheets segmented by closely spaced tear faults. Thrust sheet-top sediments were deposited during thrusting and associated fold growth and were controlled by active folding and tearing. We observe two types of angular unconformities: (1) Angular unconformities above folds between tear faults conform with the model of progressive unconformities. Across these unconformities dip decreases upsection. (2) Here, we define progressive unconformities that are related to tear faults and are controlled by both folding and tearing. Across these unconformities both strike and dip change. In growth strata overlying folds dissected by high-angle faults, such unconformities are expected to be common. We used analogue modelling to define the geometry of the tear faults and related unconformities. Within the syn-tectonic sediments, a steep, upward flattening thrust within a broader, roughly tulip-shaped drag zone develops. The thrust roots in the tear fault in pre-tectonic deposits and is curved upward toward the downthrown block. Vertical offset on the thrust is related to differential vertical uplift caused by, for example, growth of folds with different wavelength and amplitude on either side of the tear fault. Formation of progressive unconformities is governed by the relationship between the rates of deposition and vertical growth of a structure. Fault-related progressive unconformities are additionally controlled by the growth of the vertical step across the tear fault. When the rates of vertical growth of two neighbouring folds separated by a tear fault are similar, the rate of growth across the tear fault is small; if the first differ, the latter is high. Episodic tear fault activity may create several angular unconformities attached to a tear fault or allow the generation of angular unconformities near tear faults in sedimentary systems that have a rate of deposition too high to generate classical progressive unconformities between the tear faults.