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Meso to Neoproterozoic polyphase rifting and tectonic inversion: The example of the São João del Rei region at the southern border of the São Francisco Craton, Brazil

Abstract : The up to 3000 m thick Mesoproterozoic and Neoproterozoic sedimentary succession exposed at the southern border of the São Francisco Craton, São João del Rei region (southern Minas Gerais State, Brazil), records the stacking of five sedimentary basins. These basins evolved due to multiple rifting episodes related to the southernmost Espinhaço rift system and were deformed around 600 Ma during the evolution of the Ribeira Orogen. These basins are the 1- São João del Rei Basin with quartzite units with maximum depositional age of ca. 1.5 Ga preserved in a half graben associated to the younger rift phases, 2- Carandaí Basin with rift related fault bounded debris flow deposits with maximum depositional age of ca. 1.38 Ga, and a sag carbonate infill recording the post-rift thermal relaxation, 3- Prados Basin, an NE-SW aulacogen linked to the passive margin Andrelândia Basin (<1.04 Ga) and 4- a foreland basin of the Brasiliano Orogeny with early syn-collisional plagioclase wacke deposits with maximum depositional age of ca. 650 Ma. The present paper discusses the role of the faults at the São João del Rei region in the evolution of these basins and the subsequent orogenic deformation. Five phases of fault activity were recognized. The first one is recorded by a few E-W faults and a single N–S fault and associated growth strata within the São João del Rei Basin. The second phase is recorded by activity of NE-SW, E-W and minor NW-SE faults during the Carandaí rifting (1.53–1.38 Ga). The main faults are the NW-SE Lenheiro and São João del Rei faults and the E-W São José Fault. Minor NW-SE faults are interpreted as release faults associated with the last two faults. NE-SW mafic dikes occurring along the faults suggest precursor/coeval magmatism. The third phase is characterized mainly by the reactivation of the NW-SE Lenheiro Fault leading to the development of the NW-SE Prados aulocogen. The fourth phase is inferred to be a reverse reactivation of NW-SE faults related to the NW tectonic transport direction of the Ribeira Orogen. The NW verging D1 folds and steeply SE dipping cleavage contribute to this interpretation. However, the reverse reactivation was insufficient to overcome the cumulative previous normal throw. During the fifth phase NE-SW faults were reactivated as dextral shear zones. Subhorizontal stretching lineation and mylonitic foliation occur along the Lenheiro Fault for at least 60 km. These structures are related to the E-W compression that generated other NE-SW regional dextral shear zones, such as the Três Corações and Caxambu shear zones during the late stages of the Brasiliano Orogeny. Structural data also reveals that during the Carandaí and/or Prados rifting, prior to the orogenic contraction, rotational oblique tilting in what was to become the northern limb of the Lenheiro Anticline generated the difference between the trends of the Beta axis and L1 in the northern limb of the anticline in relation to the other structural domains. This also explains the ENE-WSW trend of the Lenheiro Anticline contrasting with the NE-SW trend of the Águas Santas Syncline and of the other D1 regional folds south of the studied area. A forward model based on a cross section through the Águas Santas Syncline reveals that the NE-SW Lenheiro Fault acted as a major listric fault responsible for the development of a rollover anticline and the half-graben in which the São João del Rei basin deposits are preserved. Rotation and partial erosion of the hanging wall resulted in the deposition of the Carandaí diamictites in angular unconformity on the São João del Rei basin deposits. The model indicates 41% of total extension with a cumulative displacement of 4.2 km produced by the Carandaí and Prados rifting phases. The minimum shortening of the orogenic compressive phase is estimated to be about 11% with 1.57 km of displacement. These values may be underestimated since the model does not take into account parasitic folds, crystalplastic deformation and volume loss produced by layer parallel shortening and metamorphic reactions.
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Submitted on : Friday, April 30, 2021 - 4:40:25 PM
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F. Nepomuceno, A. Ribeiro, D.R. Silva, G.L.C. Pires, R.A.J. Trouw, et al.. Meso to Neoproterozoic polyphase rifting and tectonic inversion: The example of the São João del Rei region at the southern border of the São Francisco Craton, Brazil. Journal of South American Earth Sciences, Elsevier, 2021, 109 (8), pp.103294. ⟨10.1016/j.jsames.2021.103294⟩. ⟨hal-03213909⟩

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