Nappe

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For other uses, see Nappe (disambiguation).
Schematic overview of an eroded thrust system. The shaded material is the nappe. The erosional hole is called a window or fenster. The klippe is the isolated block of the nappe overlying autochthonous material.

In geology, a nappe or thrust sheet is a large sheetlike body of rock that has been moved more than 2 km (1.2 mi)[1] or 5 km (3.1 mi)[2][3] above a thrust fault from its original position. Nappes form in compressional tectonic settings like continental collision zones or on the overriding plate in active subduction zones. Nappes form when a mass of rock is forced (or "thrust") over another rock mass, typically on a low angle fault plane. The resulting structure may include large-scale recumbent folds, shearing along the fault plane,[4] imbricate thrust stacks, fensters and klippe.

The term stems from the French word for tablecloth in allusion to a crumpled tablecloth being pushed across a table.[4]

History[edit]

Nappes or nappe belts are a major feature of the European Alps, Carpathians and Balkans.[5][6] Since the 19th century many geologists have uncovered areas with large-scale overthrusts. Some of these were substantiated with paleontological evidence. The concept was developed by M.A. Bertrand, who unraveled the complex tectonic history of the Alps and identified the feature as nappe de charriage. He reinterpreted earlier studies by Escher and Heim in the Glarus Alps.[7] His work in Switzerland influenced A. Escher von der Linth and M. Lugeon. Several years later, nappe structure was investigated in northwestern Scotland by Ch. Lapworth. Lugeon later transferred the ideas of nappes to the Carpathians.

Structure[edit]

Nappe can be qualified in a number of ways to indicate various features of a formation. The frontal part in the direction of movement, is called the leading edge of a nappe; numerous folds and secondary thrusts and duplexes are common features here and are sometimes called digitations. The surface of a thrust fault which caused movement of a nappe is called a decollement, detachment plane or sole of thrust. The root area is an area where the nappe is completely separated from its substratum. It is often compressed and reduced, even underthrust below the surrounding tectonic units, resulting in a specific structure called a suture. A nappe whose root area is unknown, is called a rootless nappe.

Areas with a nappe structure often contain two types of geological features:

  • A nappe outlier or klippe is a small area isolated from the main body of the nappe by erosion that lies on the autochthonous base; the summit of Veľký Rozsutec in the Western Carpathians is a typical example.
  • A fault inlier, fenster, or window is an area of the autochthonous basement uncovered by erosion, but continuously surrounded by the body of the nappe; the Hohe Tauern window in the Alps is a typical example.

Classification[edit]

According to petrographical composition, two basic types of nappes are known:

Mechanisms of emplacement[edit]

Converging tectonic plates and the orogenic wedge

Nappes are generally considered as compressional structures, however some exceptions could be found especially among the gravitational slides along low angle faults.[8][9] Gravitational forces could be even important in certain cases during emplacement of compressional thrusts. The movement of huge masses of rock may be influenced by several forces, forces that may act together or sequentially.

At a shallower depths, low pressures and temperatures can't cause plastic and viscous behavior of solid rock which is necessary to move along low angle faults. It is considered that such characteristics may be achieved at significantly less extreme conditions in the clayey rocks or evaporites, which can then act as a tectonic lubricants. The process, which significantly reduces the frictional resistance is the fluid overpressure, which acts against the normal pressure, reducing high lithostatic pressures and allows fracturation, cataclasis and formation of tectonic breccia or fault gouge that could act as decollement plane. Evaporites are also often related the decollement and thrust planes. Evaporites are strongly prone to shear deformation and therefore preferred planes of detachment.[10]

Behavior of thrust sheets is currently explained on the model of the orogenic wedge, which is dependent on the internal wedge taper θ.[11] Gravitational sliding is movement generated by the movement down an inclined plane under the action of gravity. Gravitational spreading, possibly accompanied by an initial phase of diapirism is generated by large heat flow that causes detachment in a hinterland.[12] Other mechanisms as push from behind, action of tangential compressive forces, shortening of the basement are essentially variations of the previous mechanisms.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Howell, J.V. (Editor) 1960: Glossary of geology and related sciences. American Geological Institute, Washington D.C., 325 p.
  2. ^ Marko, F., Jacko, S., 1999: Structural geology (General and systematic). ISBN 80-88896-36-3 Vydavateľstvo Harlequin, Košice, p. 81 - 93 (Slovak)
  3. ^ Dennis, J. G., 1967, International tectonic dictionary. AAPG, Tulsa, p. 112
  4. ^ a b Twiss, Robert J. and Eldridge M. Moores, Structural Geology, W. H. Freeman, 1992, p. 236 ISBN 978-0716722526
  5. ^ Schmid, S. M., Fügenschuh, B., Kissling, E, and Schuster, R. 2004: Tectonic Map and Overall Architecture of the Alpine Orogen. Eclogae geologicae Helvetiae v. 97, Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag, pp. 93–117, ISSN 0012-9402
  6. ^ Gamkrelidze, I.P. 1991: Tectonic nappes and horizontal layering of the Earth’s crust in the Mediterranean belt (Carpathians, Balkanides and Caucasus). Tectonophysics, 196, p. 385-396
  7. ^ Franks, S., Trümpy, R., 2005: The Sixth International Geological Congress: Zürich, 1894. Episodes, vol. 28, 3, p. 187-192
  8. ^ Graham, R.H. (1979) "Gravity sliding in the Maritime Alps" pp. 335–352 In McClay, K. R. and Price, N.J. (editors) (1981) Thrust and Nappe Tectonics (Geological Society of London Special Publication 9) Blackwell Scientific, Oxford, England, ISBN 978-0-632-00614-4
  9. ^ Park, R. G. (2004) [1997]. Foundations of Structural Geology (reprint of 1997 edition of Chapman & Hall) (third ed.). Abingdon, England: Taylor and Francis. pp. 131–132. ISBN 978-0-7487-5802-9. 
  10. ^ Davis, D.M., Engelder, T., 1985: The role of salt in fold-and-thrust belts. Tectonophysics, 119, p. 67-88
  11. ^ Nemčok, M., Schamel, S., Gayer, R. A., 2005: Thrustbelts: structural architecture, thermal regimes and petroleum systems. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 554 p.
  12. ^ Price, N.J., McClay, K.R., 1981: Introduction. p. 1-5 in Price, N.J., McClay, K.R. (Eds.), Thrust and Nappe Tectonics. Geological Society, Special Publications vol. 9, London, 528 p.