The Nyasa/ Malawi rift is characterized by poor magma with relatively large earthquakes. There has been a controversy as to the stress kinematics of the rift, some considering it as part of the transform fault and some considering it as a rift structure characterized by normal faulting. To review this controversy, we collect fault slip data from the central to the southern end of the rift and integrate our results with published focal mechanisms fault slip data on the rift. Results show that the central part of the rift is under radial extension whereas the southern half is under oblique NNE-SSW transtensive tectonic regime with the horizontal axis of minimum extension = 020˚. Further south, the obliquity extension rotates by about 15˚ reaching N-S with Shmin = 175˚. The level of structural penetration and intensity of faulting show that the N-S opening is more important and prominent in the south than towards the north. We also find that the faults that dip to the east and trending NW-SE are characterized by sinistral sense of movement whereas those that dip to the southwestern side are characterized by dextral sense of movements. This implies that regionally, the rift is essentially under normal faulting regime but with a significant strike –slip component – hence the obliquity kinematics. Tectonic regimes obtained from fault-slip data are related to lithospheric scale and involve both the crust and the upper mantle. Thus, the pure NNW-SSE extension related to focal mechanism data are crust deformation related events.
The Great Slave Lake shear zone (GSLsz) is a type example for deeply eroded continental transform boundaries located in the Northwest Territories, Canada. Formed during the oblique convergence of the Archean Rae and Slave cratons, the GSLsz has accommodated up to 700 km of dextral shear. Here we present the results of in situ U-Pb apatite and titanite geochronology from 11 samples that were collected across the strike of the shear zone. Both geochronometers record a near-continuous history of ductile shear during crustal cooling and exhumation that spans ca. 1920–1740 Ma. By integrating the geochronological data with structural and metamorphic observations across the structure, we propose a tectonic model for the shear zone that consists of three stages. The first stage (ca. 1920–1880 Ma) is characterized by strain accommodation along two coeval fault strands. During the second stage (ca. 1880–1800 Ma), ductile shear ceases along the northernmost fault strand and the locus of strain migrates southwards towards the hinterland of the Rae cratonic margin. In the third stage (ca. 1800–1740 Ma), ductile strain localizes back along the southern of the two original fault strands, after which the present-day surface level of the shear zone transitions to brittle shear. Our results highlight both the significance of the lateral migration of the zone of active deformation in major crustal shear zones as well as the localization of strain along existing crustal structures.
The Indian plate underthrusting the Himalaya is considered to be segmented along the collision belt arc and seismic images of the Indian mantle lithosphere (IML) suggest along-arc variations in the angle of underthrusting and its northern limit beneath Tibet. The pre-existing transverse tectonic structures of the Indian plate mapped in the Ganga foreland basin have been related to these segmentation boundaries. These segmentations imply changes in mechanical properties of adjoining blocks which should manifest in the form of spatial variations in topography build-up. We have analysed a geomorphic index, normalized channel steepness (ksn), along the Himalayan arc using the ALOS elevation dataset to test whether there is any correlation between the and these segmentation boundaries. Our results bring out spatial variability in the along the arc. Based on these results, the arc can be segmented into five blocks, similar to the ones delineated based on correlation between the width of the Ganga foreland basin and the disposition of major Himalayan thrusts from the foothills. Thus, the ksn can be used as a proxy to demarcate different tectonic blocks along the Himalayan arc. Further, we have found a good correlation between the basin width and the northern limit of the IML for all block except the Uttarakhand block. We infer that transverse crustal heterogeneities in this block due to the continuation of different litho-units of the Aravalli-Delhi Fold Belt could be a plausible cause for this anti-correlation.