The development of folds and cleavages in slate belts by underplating in accretionary complexes: A comparison of the Kodiak Formation, Alaska and the Calaveras Complex, California

Scott R. Paterson, James C. Sample

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The development of folds and cleavages in slate and graywacke belts is commonly attributed to arc‐continent or continent‐continent collisions. However, the Kodiak Formation of southern Alaska and the Calaveras Complex of the western Sierra Nevada, California, are two slate and graywacke belts in which folds and slaty cleavages developed during simple underthrusting and underplating within accretionary wedges. The Maastrichtian Kodiak Formation is composed dominantly of coherent turbidites but includes lesser pebbly mudstone, minor conglomerate, and rare chert. The Kodiak Formation is part of a large accretionary complex that youngs in age seaward, but bedding tops generally show landward younging. A progression of structures has been determined by crosscutting relationships and includes (1) syndeformational depositional features; (2) broken formation; (3) slaty cleavage, folds, and thrust faults; (4) crenulations and crenulation cleavage; (5) late brittle thrust faults; and (6) right‐lateral strike‐slip faults. Broken formation, slaty cleavage, thrust faults, and folds developed during underthrusting and underplating within an accretionary wedge. Crenulations and brittle thrust faults are related to subsequent intrawedge shortening. Based on peak metamorphism in the uppermost zeolite to prehnite‐pumpellyite facies, underplating occurred at a minimum depth of 10 km. The Calaveras Complex is composed of argillite, chert, graywacke, pebbly mudstone, limestone, and volcanic rocks. Its age of deposition has a maximum range from Permian to Early Jurassic. Overall, the unit appears to young westward, but local facing indicators show eastward younging of individual blocks. The sequence of structures developed in the Calaveras Complex is (1) syn‐depositional olistostromes; (2) broken formation; (3) slaty cleavage, folds, and thrust faults; and (4) younger Jura‐Triassic folds and crenulation cleavages. Broken formation and slaty cleavage developed during underthrusting and underplating in an accretionary wedge, in an analogous fashion to the Kodiak Formation. Greenschist facies metemorphism during underplating suggests that the Calaveras Complex was accreted at deeper levels, or in a wedge with a higher geothermal gradient, than the Kodiak Formation. Some other probable examples of slate/graywacke belts that became folded and well‐foliated during underplating include part of the Dunnage Zone (Newfoundland), the Southern Uplands complex (Scotland), the Torlesse terrane (New Zealand), part of the Hamburg klippe (Pennsylvania), and the Taconic allochthons (New York). Peak metamorphism in these belts indicates that they were accreted in accretionary wedges with geothermal gradients higher than usually assumed for such tectonic settings; such wedges may have been fairly common features at convergent margins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)859-874
Number of pages16
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1988


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geophysics
  • Geochemistry and Petrology

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