Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
A thin (<200 m.) mafic suite and well developed mafic/ultramafic transition zone are exposed above a flat lying peridotite contact on northwestern Table Mountain. The igneous layering and sedimentary features indicate mineral deposition under conditions which promoted adcumulate growth, were capable of minor transport, and were subjected to at least minor tectonic activity during consolidation. Feldspathic,. mafic, and ultramafic dikes and veins cross-cut the layering. Microscopic futures indicate deformation at elevated temperature and/or low strain rates. Deformation is best developed within the transition zone, but cataclastic zones are most common in the hornblende gabbros. Orientations of layering, foliation, and lineation indicate a variable mafic/ultramafic transition and macroscopic folding. Geometric analysis indicates three distinct fold axis orientations: an east-west horizontal fold axis, a northeast trending modestly plunging axis, and a vertical though poorly defined axis. Such features demonstrate that an apparently simple contact relationship may be extremely complex. This has important implications for ocean floor accretion. The relatively simple ocean floor seismic stratigraphy masks very complex petrological and structural processes. Such processes may involve deposition in an actively convecting magma chamber with a differentially subsiding wedge (Dewey and Kidd, 1977), in which folding occurs in response to the steepening angle between the cumulate banding and the base of the magma chamber. The instability is enhanced by the different accumulation rates and densities of the minerals involved. The lineation may originally be a sedimentary feature indicative of transport direction from the convection cell, and perpendicular to the compressive stress which produced. the folding. The different orientations of lineations and fold axes could be produced by rotation of the ocean crustal blocks during lateral transport along the ocean floor and/or obduction. Further detailed study of ophiolite complexes will continue to shed light upon the nature and development of oceanic crust.
O'Connell, Suzanne, "Geology of the Mafic/Ultramafic Transition, Table Mountain, Western Newfoundland" (1979). Geology Theses and Dissertations. 64.