Publication details for Prof Ken McCaffreyDe Paola, N, Holdsworth, R.E, McCaffrey,K.J.W & Barchi, M.R. (2005). Partitioned transtension: an alternative to basin inversion models. Journal of Structural Geology 27(4): 607-625.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 0191-8141
- DOI: 10.1016/j.jsg.2005.01.006
- Keywords: Transtension; Basin tectonics; Inversion; Strain partitioning; Carboniferous.
- Further publication details on publisher web site
- Durham Research Online (DRO) - may include full text
Author(s) from Durham
‘Inversion structures’ (e.g. folds, reverse faults) spatially associated with basin-bounding faults are very widely recognised in rift basins in both onshore and offshore settings worldwide. The great majority of such structures are attributed to local or regional crustal shortening events. There is, however, an alternative, which is investigated in this paper: inversion could reflect a horizontal shortening component of deformation formed during progressive and partitioned transtension. A case study from the Carboniferous Northumberland Basin shows that shortening structures can also form in obliquely divergent rifts if the bulk strain undergoes kinematic partitioning into distinct regions of wrench- and extension-dominated transtension. Such strain partitioning appears to be particularly favoured in basins where fault localisation is strongly influenced by pre-existing basement structures. This may occur because the pre-existing anisotropies are zones of long-lived weakness that lie in an orientation particularly favourable to the preferential accommodation of either strike-slip or dip-slip displacements. Our strain analysis applied to the Northumberland Basin, traditionally considered as a classic example of a Variscan inverted basin, reduces the deformation history to a single kinematically partitioned phase of dextral transtension during the late Carboniferous–early Permian. Our findings have profound implications for the interpretation of inversion structures in any rift basin where the direction of extension may be significantly oblique to the basin margins.
Beamish, D., Smythe, D.K., 1986. Geophysical images of the deep crust:
the Iapetus suture. Journal of the Geological Society, London 143, 489–
Bott, M.H.P., 1961. A gravity survey off the coast of north-east England.
Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society 33, 1–20.
Bott, M.H.P., 1967. Geophysical investigations of the northern Pennine
basement rocks. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society 36,
Bott, M.H.P., Swinburn, P.M., Long, R.E., 1984. Deep structure and origin
of the Northumberland and Stainmore troughs. Proceedings of the
Yorkshire Geological Society 44, 479–495.
Bott, M.H.P., Long, R.E., Green, A.S.P., Lewis, A.H.J., Sinha, M.C.,
Stevenson, D.L., 1985. Crustal structure south of the Iapetus suture
beneath northern England. Nature 314, 724–727.
Bower, S.L., 1990. Inversion tectonics in the Carboniferous basins of
northern England: with special reference to Northumberland. Unpublished
Ph.D. thesis, University of Leeds.
Chadwick, R.A., Holliday, D.W., 1991. Deep crustal structure and
Carboniferous basin development within the Iapetus convergence
zone, northern England. Journal of the Geological Society, London 148,
Clegg, P., Holdsworth, R.E., 2005. Complex deformation due to strain
partitioning in transpression zones: an example from the Leinster
Terrane, SE Ireland. Journal of the Geological Society, London 162,
Collier, R.E., 1989. Tectonic evolution of the Northumberland Basin: the
effects of renewed extension upon an inverted extensional basin.
Journal of the Geological Society, London 146, 981–989.
Corfield, S.M., Gawthorpe, R.L., Gage, M., Fraser, A.J., Besley, B.M.,
1996. Inversion tectonics of the Variscan foreland of the British Isles.
Journal of the Geological Society, London 153, 17–32.
Coward, M.P., 1993. The effect of late Caledonian and Variscan continental
escape tectonics on basement structure, Palaeozoic basin kinematics
and subsequent Mesozoic basin development in NW Europe, in:
Parker, J.R. (Ed.), Petroleum Geology of NW Europe. Proceedings of
the 4th Conference. Geological Society, London, pp. 1095–1108.
De Paola, N., 2005. The structural evolution of transtensional basins and
rifted margins. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Durham.
De Paola, N., Holdsworth, R.E., McCaffrey, K.J.W., 2005. The influence of
lithology and pre-existing structures on reservoir-scale faulting patterns
in transtensional rift zones. Journal of the Geological Society 162, in
Dewey, J.F., 2002. Transtension in arcs and orogens. International Geology
Review 44, 402–439.
Dewey, J.F., Strachan, R.A., 2003. Changing Silurian–Devonian relative
plate motion in the Caledonides: sinistral transpression to sinistral
transtension. Journal of the Geological Society, London 160, 219–229.
Dewey, J.F., Holdsworth, R.E., Strachan, R.A., 1998. Transpression and
transtension zones, in: Holdsworth, R.E., Strachan, R.A., Dewey, J.F.
(Eds.), Continental Transpressional and Transtensional Tectonics
Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 135, pp. 1–14.
Dunham, A.C., Strasser-King, V.E.H., 1982. Late Carboniferous intrusions
of northern Britain, in: Sutherland, D.S. (Ed.), Igneous Rocks of the
British Isles. Wiley, Chichester, pp. 277–283.
Ernst, R.E., Buchan, K.L., 1997. Giant radiating dyke swarms: their use in
identifying pre-Mesozoic large igneous provinces and mantle plumes,
in: Mahoney, J.J., Coffin, M.F. (Eds.), Large Igneous Provinces:
Continental, Oceanic and Planetary Flood Volcanism American
Geophysical Union, Geophysical Monograph, 100, pp. 297–333.
Ernst, R.E., Buchan, K.L., 2001. Large mafic magmatic events through time
and links to mantle-plume heads, in: Ernst, R.E., Buchan, K.L. (Eds.),
Mantle Plumes: their Identification Through Time Geological Society
of America, Special Papers, 352, pp. 483–575.
Fitch, F.J., Miller, J., 1967. The age of the Whin Sill. Geological Journal 5,
Francis, E.H., 1982. Magma and sediment—1. Emplacement mechanism of
late Carboniferous tholeiite sill in northern Britain. Journal of the
Geological Society, London 139, 1–20.
Fraser, A.J., Gawthorpe, R.L., 2003. An atlas of carboniferous basin
evolution in Northern England. Geological Society, London, Memoir
Fraser, A.J., Nash, D.F., Steele, R.P., Ebdon, C.C., 1990. A regional
assessment of the regional intra-Carboniferous play of northern
England, in: Brooks, J. (Ed.), Classic Petroleum Provinces Geological
Society, London, Special Publication, 50, pp. 417–440.
Frost, D.V., Holliday, D.W., 1980. Geology of the country around
Bellingham. Memoirs of the Geological Survey, G.B.
Harland, W.B., 1971. Tectonic transpression in Caledonian Spitzbergen.
Geological Magazine 108, 27–42.
Holdsworth, R.E., Tavarnelli, E., Clegg, P., Pinheiro, R.V.L., Jones, R.R.,
McCaffrey, K.J.W., 2002a. Domainal deformation patterns and strain
partitioning during transpression: an example from the Southern
Uplands terrane, Scotland. Journal of the Geological Society, London
Holdsworth, R.E., Tavarnelli, E., Clegg, P., 2002b. The nature and regional
significance of structures in the Gala Group of the Southern Uplands
terrane, Berwickshire, SE Scotland. Geological Magazine 139, 707–
Holmes, A., Harwood, H.F., 1928. The age and composition of the Whin
Sill and the related dykes of the North of England. Mineralogical
Magazine 21, 493–552.
Johnson, G.A.L., 1984. Subsidence and sedimentation in the Northumberland
Trough. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society 45, 71–
Johnson, G.A.L., 1995. Robson’s geology of Northeast England. Transactions
of the Natural History Society of Northumbria 56, 226–391.
Johnson, G.A.L., Dunham, K.C., 2001. Emplacement of the Great Whin
Dolerite Complex and the Little Whin Sill in relation to the structure of
northern England. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological Society 53,
Jones, R.R., Tanner, P.W.G., 1995. Strain partitioning in transpression
zones. Journal of Structural Geology 17, 793–802.
Jones, R.R., Holdsworth, R.E., Clegg, P., McCaffrey, K.J.W.,
Tavarnelli, E., 2004. Inclined transpression. Journal of Structural
Geology 26, 1531–1548.
Kelly, P.G., Sanderson, D.J., Peacock, D.C.P., 1998. Linkage and evolution
of conjugate strike-slip fault zones in limestones of Somerset and
Northumbria. Journal of Structural Geology 20, 1477–1493.
Kimbell, G.S., Chadwick, R.A., Holliday, D.W., Werngren, O.C., 1989.
The structure and evolution of the Northumberland Trough from new
seismic reflection data and its bearing on modes of continental
extension. Journal of the Geological Society, London 146, 775–787.
Leeder, M.R., 1982. Upper Palaeozoic basins of the British Isles–
Caledonide inheritance versus Hercynian plate margin processes.
Journal of the Geological Society, London 139, 479–491.
Leeder, M.R., McMahon, A.H., 1988. Upper Carboniferous (Silesian) basin
subsidence in northern Britain, in: Besly, B.M., Kelling, G. (Eds.),
Sedimentation in a Synorogenic Basin—the Upper Carboniferous of
Northwest Europe. Blackie and Son, pp. 43–52.
Leeder, M.R., Fairhead, D., Lee, A., Stuart, G., Clemmey, H., Al-
Haddeh, B., Green, B., 1989. Sedimentary and tectonic evolution of the
Northumberland Basin. Proceedings of the Yorkshire Geological
Society 47, 207–223.
Liss, D., Owens, W.H., Hutton, D.H.W., 2004. New palaeomagnetic results
from the Whin Sill complex: evidence for a multiple intrusion event and
revised virtual geomagnetic poles for the late Carboniferous for the
British Isles. Journal of the Geological Society, London 161, 1–12.
Maynard, J.R., Hofmann, W., Dunay, R.E., Bentham, P.N., Dean, K.P.,
Watson, I., 1997. The Carboniferous of Western Europe: the
development of a petroleum system. Petroleum Geosciences 3, 97–116.
McCoss, A.M., 1986. Simple constructions for deformation in transpression/
transtension zones. Journal of Structural Geology 8, 715–718.
Neumann, E.R., 1994. The Oslo Rift: P–T relations and lithospheric
structure. Tectonophysics 240, 159–172.
Oldow, J.S., 2003. Active transtensional boundary zone between the
western Great Basin and Sierra Nevada block, western U.S. Cordillera.
Geology 31, 1033–1036.
Ramani, M.V., Tikoff, B., 2002. Physical models of transtensional folding.
Geology 30, 523–526.
Ramsey, J.G., Huber, M.I., 1987. The Techniques of Modern Structural
Geology. Volume 2: Folds and Fractures. Academic Press, London.
Read, W.A., 1988. Controls on Silesian sedimentation in the Midland
Valley of Scotland, in: Besly, B.M., Kelling, G. (Eds.), Sedimentation
in a Synorogenic Basin Complex: the Upper Carboniferous of
Northwest Europe. Blackie and Son, Glasgow, pp. 222–241.
Read, W.A., Browne, M.A.E., Stephenson, D., Upton, B.J.G., 2003.
Carboniferous, in: Trewin, N.H. (Ed.), The Geology of Scotland, 4th
Ed. The Geological Society, London, pp. 251–300.
Robson, D.A., 1980. The Geology of North East England. Special
Publication of the Natural History Society of Northumberland 1980.
Salvini, F., 2001. Daisy 2. The Structural Data Integrated Analyzer. Version
Sanderson, D.J., 1984. Structural variation across the northern margin of
the Variscides in NW Europe, in: Hutton, D.H.W., Sanderson, D.J.
(Eds.), Variscan Tectonics of the North Atlantic Region Geological
Society, London, Special Publication, 14, pp. 149–166.
Sanderson, D.J., Marchini, W.R.D., 1984. Transpression. Journal of
Structural Geology 6, 449–458.
Shiells, K.A.G., 1964. The geological structure of northeast Northumberland.
Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh 65, 449–484.
Smith, J.V., Durney, D.W., 1992. Experimental formation of brittle
structural assemblages in oblique divergence. Tectonophysics 216,
Smythe, D.K., Russel, M.J., Skuce, A.G., 1995. Intra-continental rifting
inferred from the major late Carboniferous quartz–dolerite dyke swarm
of NW Europe. Scottish Journal of Geology 31, 151–162.
Soper, N.J., England, R.W., Snyder, D.B., Ryan, P.D., 1992. The Iapetus
suture zone in England, Scotland and eastern Ireland: a reconciliation of
geological and deep seismic data. Journal of the Geological Society
Sundvoll, B., Larsen, B.T., 1994. Architecture and early evolution of the
Oslo Rift. Tectonophysics 240, 173–189.
Teyssier, C., Tikoff, B., 1999. Fabric stability in oblique convergence and
divergence. Journal of Structural Geology 21, 969–974.
Teyssier, C., Tikoff, B., Markley, M., 1995. Oblique plate motion and
continental tectonics. Geology 23, 447–450.
Tikoff, B., Teyssier, C., 1994. Strain modelling of displacement field
partitioning in transpressional orogens. Journal of Structural Geology
Tikoff, B., Wojtal, S.F., 1999. Displacement control of geologic structures.
Journal of Structural Geology 21, 959–967.
Timmerman, M.J., 2004. Timing, geodynamic setting and character of
Permo-Carboniferous magmatism in the foreland of the Variscan
Orogen, NW Europe, in: Wilson, M., Neumann, E.-R., Davis, G.R.,
Timmerman, M.J., Heeremans, M., Larsen, B.T. (Eds.), Permo-
Carboniferous Magmatism and Rifting in Europe Geological Society,
London, Special Publication, 223, pp. 41–74.
Walsh, J.J., Watterson, J., Bailey, W.R., Childs, C., 1999. Fault relays,
bends and branch lines. Journal of Structural Geology 21, 1019–1026.
Waters, C.N., Glover, B.W., Powell, J.H., 1994. Structural synthesis of S
Staffordshire, UK: implications for the Variscan evolution of the
Pennine Basin. Journal of the Geological Society, London 151, 697–
Withjack, M.O., Jamison, W.R., 1986. Deformation produced by oblique
rifting. Tectonophysics 126, 99–124.
Woodcock, N.H., 1986. The role of strike-slip fault systems at plate
boundaries. Philosophical Transaction of the Royal Society of London
Woodcock, N.H., Fischer, M., 1986. Strike-slip duplexes. Journal of
Structural Geology 8, 725–735.
Woodcock, N.H., Rickards, B., 2003. Transpressive duplex and flower
structure: Dent Fault System, NW England. Journal of Structural
Geology 25, 1981–1992.
Woodcock, N.H., Strachan, R.A., 2000. The Caledonian Orogeny: a
multiple plate collision, in: Woodcock, N.H., Strachan, R.A. (Eds.),
Geological History of Britain and Ireland. Blackwell Science, Oxford,