Strain partitioning in the footwall of the Somiedo Nappe: structural evolution of the Narcea Tectonic Window, NW Spain. G. Gutiérrez-Alonso, 1996, Journal of Structural Geology, 18, 1217-1229. DESCARGAR-DOWNLOAD.
The Somiedo Nappe, which is a major thrust unit in the Cantabrian Zone, the external foreland fold and thrust belt of the North Iberian Variscan orogen. Exposed at the Narcea Tectonic Window there are Precambrian rocks below the basal decollement of the Somiedo Nappe, which exhibit a different deformation style than the overlying Paleozoic rocks above the basal decollement. During Variscan deformation, folding and widespread sub-horizontal, bedding-parallel decollements were produced in the hangingwall within the Paleozoic rocks. Vertical folding, with related axial-planar cleavage at a high angle to the decollement planes, developed simultaneously in the upper Proterozoic Narcea Slates of the footwall, below the detachment. The relative magnitude of finite strain, measured in the footwall rocks, diminishes towards the foreland. These observations indicate that (1) significant deformation may occur in the footwall of foreland fold and thrust belts, (2) the shortening mechanism in the footwall may be different from that of the
hangingwall, and (3) in this particular case, the partitioning of the deformation implies the existence of a deeper, blind decollement surface contemporaneous with the first stages of the foreland development, that does not crop out in the region. This implies a significant shortening in the footwall, which must be taken into account when restoration and balancing of cross sections is attempted. A sequential diagram of the evolution of the Narcea Tectonic Window with a minimum shortening of 85 km is proposed,
explaining the complete Variscan evolution of the foreland to hinterland transition in the North Iberian Variscan orogen.