Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Klepeis, Keith


Abstract Three dimensional finite strain and kinematic data from the Resolution Island Shear Zone, Fiordland, New Zealand record the progressive evolution of a lower crustal metamorphic core complex. The Resolution Island Shear Zone is a mid-Cretaceous (~114-90 Ma) extensional shear zone that juxtaposes high-pressure (P~17-19 kbar) garnet-granulite and eclogite facies orthogneiss from the lower crust against mid-crustal (P~6-8 kbar) orthogneiss and paragneiss along a low-angle upper amphibolite facies ductile normal fault. In the lower plate of the Resolution Island Shear Zone the high-pressure garnetgranulite and eclogite facies gneissic foliations (S1) are attenuated by granulite facies extensional shear zone foliations (S2). Retrograde metamorphism marked by the breakdown of omphacite and garnet to amphibole and feldspar in S2 foliation records the unloading of the lower plate during extension. Continued extension localized strain into weaker amphibole and feldspar-bearing lithologies. Upper amphibolite facies shear zones anastomose around rigid lenses that preserve the S1 and S2 fabric. Upper amphibolite facies shear zone fabrics (S3/L3) that envelop these pods display a regional-scale domeand- basin pattern. These shear zones coalesce and form the Resolution Island Shear Zone. Coeval with the formation of the Resolution Island Shear Zone, a conjugate, southwest dipping, and lesser magnitude shear zone termed the Wet Jacket Shear Zone developed in the upper plate of the Resolution Island Shear Zone. Three-dimensional strain analyses from S3/L3 fabric in the Resolution Island Shear Zone show prolate-shaped strain ellipsoids. Stretching axes (X) from measured finite strain ellipsoids trend northeast and southwest and are subparallel to L3 mineral stretching lineations. Shortening axes (Y, Z) are subhorizontal and subvertical, respectively, and rotate through the YZ plane of the finite strain ellipsoid. This pattern reflects the dome-and-basin geometry displayed by anastomosing S3 foliations and indicates the Resolution Island Shear Zone developed in the field of constriction. Threedimensional kinematic results indicate a coaxial-dominated rotation of stretching lineations toward the X-axis in both the XZ and XY planes of the finite strain ellipsoid. Results suggest that a lower crustal metamorphic core complex developed in a constrictional strain field with components of coaxial-dominated subvertical and subhorizontal shortening. Mid-Cretaceous (~114-90 Ma) extensional structures exposed in Fiordland, including the Resolution Island, Wet Jacket, Mount Irene and Doubtful Sound shear zones and the Paparoa metamorphic core complex allows the reconstruction of a crustal column that describes the geometry of mid-Cretaceous continental rifting of Gondwana. The overall symmetry of crustal-scale structures during continental extension suggests kinematic links between flow in the lower crust and the geometry and mode of continental extension. This result is consistent with numerical models of lithospheric rifting that predict the lower crust has a primary control on the style of continental extension.