Cretaceous oblique extensional deformation and magma accumulation in the Fosdick Mountains migmatite-cored gneiss dome, West Antarctica

R. R. McFadden, C. S. Siddoway, C. Teyssier, C. M. Fanning

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    38 Citations (Scopus)


    The Fosdick Mountains, West Antarctica, expose a 15 x 80 km migmatite-cored gneiss dome consisting of migmatitic gneisses, diatexite migmatite, and subhorizontal leucogranite sheets. The Fosdick dome was emplaced and exhumed in the mid-Cretaceous due to oblique extension associated with the West Antarctic Rift system along the West Antarctic-New Zealand segment of East Gondwana. The dome is bounded to the south by a dextral oblique detachment structure and to the north by an inferred dextral strike-slip fault. Within the Fosdick dome and in the detachment zone, granite occupies leucosomes, dikes, sills, and dilatant and shear structures. The pattern of kilometer-scale domains of migmatite and granite suggest that lithologic variations and heterogeneous deformation (boudinage) resulted in pressure gradients that enhanced melt flow and magma accumulation in the Fosdick dome. Steep foliations are overprinted, folded, and transposed by subhorizontal fabrics. The crosscutting relationship is interpreted as a transition from wrench deformation to oblique divergence. Steep structures in the dome host concordant, subvertical leucosome and granite sheets yielding SHRIMP U-Pb zircon ages between ca. 117 and 114 Ma. Prevalent subhorizontal domains host large volumes of subhorizontal diatexite migmatite and granite sheets that yield U-Pb zircon ages between ca. 109 and 102 Ma. These ages indicate a timescale for melt influx of approximately 15 Ma and that the transition from wrench to oblique divergence may have occurred in as little as 5 Ma. Granites with crystallization ages between ca. 109 and 102 Ma were also emplaced in the South Fosdick Detachment zone, indicating that the detachment was active during oblique divergence. SHRIMP U-Pb titanite ages between ca. 102 and 97 Ma for late- to post-tectonic diorite dikes are interpreted as emplacement ages and give a minimum age for gneissic foliation development during detachment faulting. The Fosdick Mountains preserve a record of the middle to lower crustal response to a transition from wrench to oblique extensional deformation. Overprinting structural relationships show that a change in the angle of oblique extension can induce accumulation of subhorizontal magma sheets and lead to initiation of a detachment zone.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberTC4022
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2010


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