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The Pearya Shear Zone in the Canadian High Arctic: kinematics and significance

[Die Pearya-Scherzone in der kanadischen Hocharktis: Kinematik und Signifikanz]

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The Pearya Shear Zone near the Arctic coast of northern Ellesmere Island represents a major, large-scale structural element that traverses from southwest to northeast across the western part of the exotic Pearya Terrane. The shear zone consists of thick, subvertical mylonites developed in orthogneisses, metasedimentary rocks and granitoids. The mylonites are mostly characterised by a sinistral sense of shear. The ductile Pearya Shear Zone is interpreted to continue eastwards to the northernmost cape of the North American continent, Cape Columbia, where an isolated occurrence of orthogneisses and metasedimentary rocks was also affected by sinistral ductile shearing. The displacement along the Pearya Shear Zone can be related to the Caledonian Orogeny (M'Clintock Orogeny in the Pearya Terrane). As our working hypothesis, we assume an initial position of the Pearya Terrane near Svalbard. There, comparable large-scale sinistral shear zones transferred crustal slices during (?)Ordovician and later times but before the Ellesmerian Orogeny. We suggest that the Pearya Shear Zone has been passively carried during the Ellesmerian approach of the Pearya Terrane towards, and the final accretion to, the passive continental margin of Laurentia (Franklinian Basin).

Die Pearya-Scherzone nahe der arktischen Küste im nördlichen Bereich von Ellesmere Island repräsentiert ein großes Strukturelement, das den westlichen Teil des exotischen Pearya Terranes von SW nach NE durchzieht. Die Scherzone besteht aus subvertikalen Myloniten, die sich in Orthogneisen, metasedimentären Gesteinen und Granitoiden entwickelt haben. Die Mylonite zeigen meist einen sinistralen Schersinn. Die interpretierte östliche Fortsetzung der duktilen Pearya-Scherzone wird im nördlichsten Kap des nordamerikanischen Kontinents gesehen (Cape Columbia). Dort wurde ein isoliertes Vorkommen von Orthogneisen und metasedimentären Gesteinen ebenso von duktiler, sinistraler Scherung betroffen. Die Verschiebung entlang der Pearya-Scherzone kann auf die kaledonische Orogenese bezogen werden (M'Clintock-Orogenese im Pearya Terrane). Als Arbeitshypothese vermuten wir eine initiale Position des Pearya Terranes nahe Svalbard. Dort wurden Krustenscheiben entlang vergleichbar großer sinistraler Scherzonen während des (?)Ordoviziums und späterer Zeiten, aber vor der ellesmerischen Orogenese verschoben. Wir denken, dass die Pearya-Scherzone während der ellesmerischen Annäherung des Pearya Terranes an den passiven Kontinentalrand von Laurentia (Franklinian Basin) und der finalen Akkretion passiv transportiert worden ist.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2012

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  • Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Geowissenschaften (ZDGG) is an international peer reviewed journal that accepts papers on research and applied topics in the Earth Sciences. It is published online and in print. One volume, consisting of four issues is published annually. The journal has been published by the German Geological Society since its foundation in 1848. It was relaunched in 2005.

    ZDGG invites the submission of English, German and French language papers from all fields of geology, hydrogeology, paleontology, tectonics, sedimentology, engineering geology and of course environmental geology to name a few. The editors of ZDGG also invite suggestions for thematic issues.

    Please note that ZDGG issues from Volume 170 are now available from the publisher's website at
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