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The AAPG/Datapages Combined Publications Database

AAPG Bulletin


Volume: 77 (1993)

Issue: 4. (April)

First Page: 552

Last Page: 568

Title: Ouachita-Appalachian Juncture: a Paleozoic Transpressional Zone in the Southeastern U.S.A.

Author(s): W. S. Hale-Erlich, J. L. Coleman, Jr. (2)


The northern margin of Gondwana collided with the southern margin of the North American craton in the late Paleozoic (330-265 Ma). Near-normal compressional stresses, generated where the trend of the North American margin was nearly perpendicular to Gondwana's plate-motion vector (closure direction), caused extensive crustal shortening and decollement thrusting within the sedimentary section. The Appalachian and Ouachita fold belts are the erosional remnants of this collision on the North American margin. Transecting the Ouachita fold belt are several zones of late Paleozoic transcurrent faulting: the Val Verde, Ardmore-Anadarko, and Reelfoot zones. They occur where the precollision margin of the North American craton was oriented oblique or parallel to the closure direct on with Gondwana. Stresses generated within these zones during the collision were transpressional rather than simply compressional, and gave rise to high-angle faulting, high-amplitude vertical displacements, and the emplacement of positive flower structures. In the Val Verde and Ardmore-Anadarko basins, these features have proven to be major structural traps for oil and gas. On the basis of seismic and well data, this study identifies a zone of complex structures, including positive flower structures, in the subsurface Paleozoic section of Kemper County in east-central Mississippi. The region is considered to be another transpressional zone analogous to the Val Verde, Ardmore-Anadarko, and Reelfoot zones. The Kemper County zone separates and truncates the Appalachian Valley and Ridge fo d belt in the subsurface from the Mississippi Ouachita deformed belt to the west and is, therefore, also identified as the juncture between the Ouachita and Appalachian fold-belt systems in the southeastern U.S.A.

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