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Vol 51 (2015)

Basement-cover relations in the southeastern Cape Breton Highlands, Nova Scotia, Canada

July 2, 2014
September 7, 2015


In the southeastern Cape Breton Highlands Neoproterozoic plutonic and metamorphic rocks outcrop in upland areas whereas Carboniferous sedimentary rocks are found in the river valleys and coastal lowlands. Detailed analysis of the contacts between these two groups of rocks including mapping, geometric constructions of the contact relations, structural geological investigations, petrographic analysis and geophysical map interpretations show that the basement rocks were emplaced by a thrust fault that extends at least from the Baddeck River valley to North River, and possibly includes klippen south and east of the highlands. The thrust fault transported a slab of rock with minimum thickness of 200 m a distance of at least 8 km over Horton and Windsor group rocks. East-directed translation of the thrust block likely occurred during the Alleghanian orogeny, and appears to mirror movement previously identified in the northern and western Cape Breton Highlands, implying that much of the upland geology is allochthonous, but likely rooted in the central highlands as positive flower structure.