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Kinematics of orocline-parallel faults in the Texas and Coffs Harbour oroclines (eastern Australia) and the role of flexural slip during oroclinal bending

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The Texas and Coffs Harbour oroclines are defined by a Z-shaped curvature in the southern New England Orogen (eastern Australia), but the geometry and kinematics of faults around these oroclines, as well as their possible role during oroclinal bending, have hitherto not been understood. Using aeromagnetic and open file seismic data, as well as field observations, the pattern, geometry and kinematics of fault systems, have been investigated. Fault traces with a strike-slip component are oriented parallel to the curved magnetic and structural fabrics of the Texas and Coffs Harbour oroclines. Our observations show evidence for sinistral or sinistral-reverse, dextral (or dextral-reverse) and normal kinematics along NW-striking faults. The dominant kinematics along NNE- and NE-striking faults is dextral or dextral-reverse. The timing of faulting is not well constrained, but the ubiquitous recognition of orocline-parallel faults may suggest that a flexural slip mechanism operated during oroclinal bending in the early–middle Permian (ca 299–265 Ma). Our observations indicate that many of the orocline-parallel faults, with strike-slip separation, were reactivated during the Mesozoic and Cenozoic, as indicated by the recognition of displaced Triassic granitoids, Mesozoic sedimentary rocks and Cenozoic basalts.
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Keywords: Coffs Harbour Orocline; Texas Orocline; eastern Australia; faults; flexural slip; southern New England Orogen

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Earth Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Qld, 4072, Australia

Publication date: November 17, 2015

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