Tavşanlı Zone field trip, part 3

Picking up where we left off last time, we were in some partly-serpentenized peridotite, part of the Burham Ophiolite in Turkey’s Tavşanlı Zone, an ancient tectonic suture.

Our next stop on the field trip allowed us to visit some diabase dikes:

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Here’s a close-up of the right contact of the dike with the host peridotite:

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The field notebook’s long edge is ~18 cm. And here it is again, annotated:

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Near the village of Oranheli, we stopped to examine a jadeite meta-granitoid, a rock only a metamorphic petrologist could love. There were, however, a lot of metamorphic petrologists on the trip, and they were very keen on checking it out. This was the first of many occasions when random Turkish citizens would stroll up to our odd group to find out just what the hell we were doing:

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Further along, we saw a meta-basite (meta-basalt) within the meta-granitoid, and there I got a refreshing whiff of structure. Here’s a random isoclinal fold of a meta-granitoid dike cross-cutting the meta-basite, with a Turkish 1-lira coin (about the same size as a U.S. quarter) for scale:

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Next up were some very cool rocks: marbles with extremely elongated calcite crystals.

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These needle-like crystals are interpreted as being pseudomorphs of aragonite, the form of CaCO3 which is stable at high pressures and low temperatures.

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A bit further on, we return to metamorphosed shale and graywacke (now schist and “grayfels”), sheared out and pervasively deformed at blueschist conditions. I took a few photos of charismatic folds in the unit:

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Annotated, roughly showing the trace of foliation:

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Sandy layer folded over into a recumbent position, set in a sheared mass of meta-shale:

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Thicker sandy layer, in a recumbent isoclinal fold (white pen, 14 cm long, for scale):

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Zooming in on the above photo, to show the lovely, smaller wavelength parasitic folds which decorate the snout of the big fold:

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Extensional fractures along an isoclinally-folded, recumbent sandy layer:

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Small S-folds in the sheared shale (just above hammer):

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Coming down onto this roadside outcrop of sheared shale and graywacke were cobbles and boulders of float from somewhere up above. They were of a quartz-pebble conglomerate that showed a stretching lineation. Check out these two faces of typical samples:

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Now, here they are again, with the X, Y, and Z axes of the strain ellipsoid (longest, intermediate, and shortest, respectively) labeled for your benefit.

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This conglomerate has been sheared into a lovely L-S tectonite, with X>Y~Z. In other words, it’s mostly lineated, with only a weakly-defined foliation, indicating the stress field was mostly constrictional. (I collected a muddy sample of this stretched-pebble meta-conglomerate, and when I washed it off in the hotel shower the next morning, I was delighted what a cool sample I had selected. It has some awesome structural features; I’ll show it to you some other time…)

Our final stop of Day 1 of the trip was this spectacular overview of the Kocasu Gorge, a canyon which cuts across the structural trend of the area at approximately a right angle. (The canyon cuts north-south; the strike of the folded & thrusted rock units runs approximately east-west.)

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As the sun set, Aral showed us where we were, and the overall synclinal structure of the area.

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I recorded it in my field notebook like this:

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With this context established, we loaded back on the bus and drove for a couple of hours to get to a town with a decent hotel. We dined and slept, and the next morning got up ready for more suture-zone rocks.

Crenulation lineation

Hiking last Sunday in Rock Creek Park, DC, I saw this boulder and my eye was immediately drawn to the linear pattern running from upper left towards lower right (Swiss Army knife at upper right for scale):

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Because that photo is not especially large, let’s zoom in a bit to two sections… Here is Photo 1, annotated to show the areas we will look at next:

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Here’s a cropped and higher-resolution look at the diagonal lineations that caught my eye:

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There are lots of different linear elements that can show up in rock fabric (as distinguished from the many kinds of planar elements that could be found). Some lineations are primary, but the ones that interest me are secondary (i.e., tectonic in origin). Let’s rotate our perspective, moving to the left of the first photo, and turning our head ~70° to look towards the right. This closer look at the left face of the boulder reveals the origin of these particular linear elements:

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…They are crenulation lineations, essentially very small folds that deform the cleavage of these highly-foliated rocks. The crenulations’ fold axes were popping out in very slight 3D relief on the face of the boulder that initially caught my eye, like tectonic “ripple marks.” On the right side of Photo 3, you can see the lineations (fold axes) stretching away into the blurry distance.

In addition, some of the convex-outward crenulations had been breached, which means that the trace of the foliation was outcropping along the same trend as the fold axis. This is a variety of intersection lineation: two planar elements intersecting in a line. In this case the planar elements are [a] the foliation and [b] the outcrop surface.

(The other, more “classic” variety of lineation is a mineral stretching lineation, like the lineated gneiss I showcased last November.)

So, how should we interpret these rocks? I’d say that an initial foliation was imparted to them due to shearing along the Rock Creek Shear Zone, a prominent north-south-trending zone of smeared rocks in northwest DC; about 1 km wide. The foliation formed perpendicular to an original σ1 maximum principal stress direction. Later, the stress field changed, and deformed this pre-existing foliation. The new σ1 was oriented (using Photo 1 as our reference) from the lower left towards the upper right. The new σ2 was oriented parallel to the crenulation fold axes (upper left towards lower right). And the new σ3 was oriented in the direction perpendicular to the main outcrop face — that’s why the folds pooched out in that direction. (It offered the least resistance to being pushed.)

Recall that we saw something similar in the snow back in February.

Anyhow, I had just gotten through discussing lineations with my GMU structure students, so I figured I should photograph this particular outcrop for their benefit…

…and, I suppose, for your benefit as well, dear blog reader.

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