International Geological Journal - Official Journal of the Carpathian-Balkan Geological Association

Kinematic evolution and quantification of deformation in external orogenic zones: a case study from the Tunisian Atlas

Pages: 391 - 401

Authors: MOHAMED SADOK BENSALEM, SOULEF AMAMRIA, MOHAMED GHANMI, FOUAD ZARGOUNI

Abstract: The quantification of deformation is one of the main objectives studied by geologists in order to control the evolution of tectonic structures and their kinematics during different tectonic phases. One of the most reliable methods of this theme is the direct calculation of quantity of deformation based on field data, while respecting several parameters such as the notion of tectonic inheritance and reactivation of pre-existing faults, or the relationship between the elongation and shortening axis with major faults. Thus, such a quantification of deformation in an area may explain the relations of thin- and thick-skinned tectonics during this deformation. The study of structural evolution of the Jebel Elkebar domain in the southern-central Tunisian Atlas permits us to quantify the deformation during the extensional phase by a direct calculation of the vertical throw along normal faults. This approach is verified by calculation of thickness of eroded strata in the uplifted compartment and of resedimented series, named the Kebar Formation, in the downthrown compartment. The obtained results confirm the importance of the Aptian-Albian extensional tectonic regime. The extent of deformation during the compressional phase, related to reactivation of pre-existing faults, is less than that of extensional phases; indeed the compressive reactivation did not compensate the vertical throw of normal faults. The geometry of the Elkebar fold is interpreted in terms of the “fault-related fold” model with a décollement level in the Triassic series. This permitted the partition of deformation between the basement and cover, so that the basement was allowed for a limited transport only, and the maximum of observed deformation was concentrated in the thin-skinned tectonics.

Keywords: fault inversion; quantification of deformation; tectonic inheritance; tectonic phases; thin- and thick-skinned tectonics

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