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Murphy, J.J., 2007

Kinematics partitioning and the relationship between velocity and strain in shear zones

Bibliographic Reference

Murphy, J.J., 2007, Kinematics partitioning and the relationship between velocity and strain in shear zones: Pullman, Washington, Washington State University, Ph.D. dissertation, 171 p.


Granite Point, southeast Washington state, captures older distributed deformation deflected by younger, localized deformation. This history agrees with mathematical modeling completed by Watkinson and Patton (2005; 2007, in prep). This model suggests that distributed strain occurs at a lower energy threshold than localized strain and predicts deformation histories similar to Granite Point. Ductile shear zones at Granite Point define a zone of deformation where strain is partitioned and localized into at least 10 subparallel shear zones with sinistral, west-side-down shear sense. Can the relative movement of the boundaries of this partitioned system be reconstructed? Can partitioning be resolved from a distributed style of deformation? The state of strain and kinematics of actively deforming zones was studied by relating the velocity field to strain. The Aleutian Arc, Alaska, and central Walker Lane, Nevada, were chosen because they have a wealth of geologic data and are recognized examples of obliquely deforming zones. The graphical construction developed by Declan De Paor is ideally suited for this application because it provides a spatially referenced visualization of the relationship between velocity and strain. The construction of De Paor reproduces the observed orientation of strain in the Aleutian Arc, however, the spatial distribution of GPS stations suggests a component of partitioning. Partitioning does not provide a unique solution and cannot be differentiated from a combination of partitioning and distributed strain. In the central Walker Lane, strain trajectories can be reproduced at the domain scale. Furthermore, the effect of anisotropy from Paleozoic through Cenozoic crustal structure, which breaks the regional strain field into pure shear and simple shear dominated transtension, can be detected. Without GPS velocities to document strictly coaxial strain, the strain orientation should not be taken as the velocity orientation. The strain recorded at Granite Point should not be used to reconstruct the relative movement of the boundaries because the strain direction may not be parallel to the velocity orientation. Kinematic reconstructions of obliquely deforming zones that assume a palaeo-velocity orientation equal to the measured orientation of finite strain may not accurately reflect the deviation between velocity and strain.

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