EGU21-722, updated on 24 Apr 2023
EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Complex kinematics in a major ductile shear zone, NW Shetland: Evidence of ductile extrusion during Caledonian transpression

Timothy Armitage1, Robert Holdsworth1, Robin Strachan2, Thomas Zach3, Diana Alvarez-Ruiz1, and Eddie Dempsey4
Timothy Armitage et al.
  • 1Durham University, Earth Science, Durham, United Kingdom (
  • 2University of Portsmouth, School of the Environment, Geography and Geosciences, Portsmouth, United Kingdom (
  • 3University of Gothenburg, Earth Science, Gothenburg, Sweden, (
  • 4University of Hull, Earth Sciences, Hull, United Kingdom (

Ductile shear zones are heterogeneous areas of strain localisation which often display variation in strain geometry and combinations of coaxial and non-coaxial deformation. One such heterogeneous shear zone is the c. 2 km thick Uyea Shear Zone (USZ) in northwest Mainland Shetland (UK), which separates variably deformed Neoarchaean orthogneisses in its footwall from Neoproterozoic metasediments in its hanging wall (Fig. a). The USZ is characterised by decimetre-scale layers of dip-slip thrusting and extension, strike-slip sinistral and dextral shear senses and interleaved ultramylonitic coaxially deformed horizons. Within the zones of transition between shear sense layers, mineral lineations swing from foliation down-dip to foliation-parallel in kinematically compatible, anticlockwise/clockwise-rotations on a local and regional scale (Fig. b). Rb-Sr dating of white mica grains via laser ablation indicates a c. 440-425 Ma Caledonian age for dip-slip and strike-slip layers and an 800 Ma Neoproterozoic age for coaxial layers. Quartz opening angles and microstructures suggest an upper-greenschist to lower-amphibolite facies temperature for deformation. We propose that a Neoproterozoic, coaxial event is overprinted by Caledonian sinistral transpression under upper greenschist/lower amphibolite facies conditions. Interleaved kinematics and mineral lineation swings are attributed to result from differential flow rates resulting in vertical and lateral extrusion and indicate regional-scale sinistral transpression during the Caledonian orogeny in NW Shetland. This study highlights the importance of linking geochronology to microstructures in a poly-deformed terrane and is a rare example of a highly heterogeneous shear zone in which both vertical and lateral extrusion occurred during transpression.