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Layer-parallel shortening and related structures in zones undergoing active regional horizontal extension

2013-01-01
Şengör, Ali Mehmet Celal
Bozkurt, Erdin
Folds and thrust faults formed by layer-parallel shortening coaxial with extensional structures such as normal dip-slip faults and ductile necking structures with orthorhombic fabric symmetry are usual, but little-recognised structures formed within normal dip-slip shear zones bounding rifts. They are generated because of the shear distribution in a zone of progressive deformation and may be later extended and disrupted depending on which part of the strain ellipsoid they may be located. We here describe folds and thrust faults from the southern margin of the AlaAYehir Rift in western Turkey as an opportunity to discuss the properties of pure extension-related structures formed by layer-parallel shortening. Such structures are more commonly generated during the early stages of rifting, when deformation rates are slow and the shear zones broader than those forming later in the life of a rift when strain rates are usually higher. Such structures have commonly been mistaken for witnesses documenting regional episodes of shortening rather than as integral parts of the extensional structures forming rifts. Not all layer-parallel shortening-related structures therefore indicate regional shortening. We plead that hasty statements concerning the meaning of geological structures at all scales be avoided before a thorough understanding of bulk strains that have affected a region are properly understood.