Exposures of continental lower crust provide fundamental constraints on the thermal-mechanical behavior of continental lithosphere during orogeny. The applicability of field-based results, however, requires knowledge of whether these data pertain to deformation during lower-crustal residence or during uplift and exhumation of deep crust. Dating synkinematic monazite-producing reactions provides one way to evaluate deformation styles in the deep crust. We report on the implications of monazite reaction dating for the timing of fabric formation and movement along three crustal-scale shear zones in northern Saskatchewan, western Canadian Shield. The structures accommodated dextral transpressive strain during oblique- and thrust-sense displacement that was coeval with uplift and exhumation of >20,000 km2 of continental lower crust (>1.0 GPa) to middle-crustal levels (<0.5 GPa). In situ Th-U–total Pb monazite data reveal that monazite rims in all three shear zones grew synkinematically at 1849 ± 6 Ma (2σ, mean square of weighted deviates = 0.8). The style of deformation involved localized strain concurrent with segmentation and translation of rheologically strong blocks of deep crust along mutually interacting shear zones during transpression.
- Received 25 April 2013.
- Revision received 24 July 2013.
- Accepted 13 August 2013.
- © 2011 Geological Society of America