Comparison of tectonic styles in the Mexican and Canadian Rocky Mountain fold-thrust belt

Elisa Fitz-Diaz, Peter Hudleston, Gustavo Tolson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Despite the fact that most fold-thrust belts around the world share many features, successfully explained by the critical wedge model, the details of their geometric evolution and tectonic style development are poorly understood. In the classic section of the southern Canadian Rocky Mountains the dominant tectonic style consists of imbricate thrust sheets with relatively little internal deformation of the individual slices. In the Mexican fold-thrust Belt (Central Mexico), the age of deformation, the overall structural pattern and the total amount of shortening are similar, but the individual thrust sheets exhibit much more internal deformation as manifest by metre-scale buckle folds. One of the differences between these localities is the lateral variation of facies resulting in massive platform limestone separated by thinly-bedded basinal limestone in the Central Mexico section. Strain is concentrated toward the margins between platforms and basins. In Canada, thick platform carbonates form continuous resistant units across the Front Range. Possible reasons for the differences in tectonic style between the two sections include the dominant lithology, distribution of lithologies, taper angle of the tectonic wedges, amount of friction along the basal detachment and the degree of anisotropy of the basin facies rocks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-167
Number of pages19
JournalGeological Society Special Publication
StatePublished - Feb 16 2011

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