Implications of the structure of the Wadi Tayin metamorphic sole, the Ibra-Dasir block of the Samail ophiolite, and the Saih Hatat window for late stage extensional ophiolite emplacement, Oman


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Abstract

Late stage extensional character of the Samail Ophiolite, as inferred from structure within the Ibra-Dasir blocks, supports gravity-driven final emplacement for the ophiolite. This however, is not related to ‘collapse’ off ramp-related domal culminations as speculated in Late Cretaceous thrusting scenarios. Domal structures of the Oman Mountains are Tertiary structures as originally inferred by Glennie et al. (1974). Gravity-driven emplacement of the ophiolite is related to the rising NE-directed Saih Hatat fold-nappe, now preserved within the Saih Hatat window and offshore along the Batinah coast as the Saih Hatat axis. Ar-Ar geochronology indicates that the Saih Hatat antiformal fold-nappe development (76–70 Ma) was occurring at the time the ophiolite was being emplaced onto the margin between 70–80 Ma. Evidence for extension is shown by: (1) the truncation of fold structures in the ophiolite pseudostratigraphy by the approximately planar, late stage basal fault (previously referred to as the ‘Samail thrust’ and now as the Samail detachment fault), (2) faults within the ophiolite cutting down section (e.g., Jabal Dimh fault), and (3) by the presence of both high angle and low angle normal faults, particularly in the metamorphic sole rocks at Wadi Tayin. Kinematic analysis of the high angle fault pairs in the metamorphic sole at Wadi Tayin indicates N–S pull-apart. These features of the Samail Ophiolite, along with similar features in the Bay of Islands Ophiolite in New Foundland, suggest that final stages of ophiolite obduction onto continental margins must involve extensional emplacement as a thin (< 5 km) sheet. This emplacement is accompanied by further thinning of the ophiolite sheet with internal development of both low and high angle normal faults.

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