Strain Variations Across the Proterozoic Penokean Orogen, USA and Canada

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Strata in the Huron (2.5–2.0 Ga) and Animikie (2.2–1.85 Ga) basins were deposited on the southern margin of the Archean Superior province. These rocks were deformed during the Penokean orogeny (∼1850 Ma) followed by subsequent accretionary orogens to the south at 1750 Ma (Yavapai) and 1630 Ma (Mazatzal). Strain patterns are unique to each orogenic belt with no far-field effect: Archean Wawa terrane rocks in the Penokean foreland preserve deformation associated with Archean accretion with no younger Penokean, Yavapai or Mazatzal strain overprint. The Penokean orogeny deformed Huron-Animikie basin sediments into a north-vergent fold-and-thrust belt with no Yavapai or Mazatzal strain overprint. Yavapai orogen strains (SW-NE margin-parallel shortening) are unique when compared to the younger Mazatzal shortening (N20°W) shortening, with no strain overprint.

Penokean deformation is characterized by shortening from the south including uplifted Archean gneisses and a northerly thin-skinned fold-and-thrust belt, with north-vergent nappes and a gently-dipping foreland. Our study of finite and calcite twinning strains (n = 60) along (∼1500 km) and across (∼200 km) the Penokean belt indicate that this orogeny was collisional as layer-parallel shortening axes are parallel across the belt, or parallel to the tectonic transport direction (∼N-S). Penokean nappe burial near the margin resulted in vertical shortening strain overprints, some of which are layer-normal. The Sudbury impact layer (1850 Ma) is found across the Animikie basin and provides a widespread deformation marker with many local, unique strain observations. We also report new geochronology (UPb zircon and apatite) for the gneiss-mafic dike rocks at Wissota (Chippewa Falls, WI) and Arbutus (Black River Falls, WI) dams, respectively, which bears on Penokean-Yavapai deformation in the Archean Marshfield terrane which was accreted during the Penokean orogen. Pseudotachylite formation was common in the Superior province Archean basement rocks, especially along terrane boundaries reactivated by contemporaneous Penokean, Trans-Hudson, Cape Smith and New Quebec deformation. In the hinterland (south), the younger Yavapai orogen (1750 Ma; n = 8) deformation is preserved as margin-parallel horizontal shortening (∼SW-NE) in Yavapai crust and up to 200 km to the north in the Penokean thrust belt as a strain and Barrovian metamorphic overprint. Mazatzal deformation (1630 Ma; n = 16) is preserved in quartzites on Yavapai and Penokean crust with layer-parallel and layer-normal shortening strains oriented N20°W.