Elongate Miocene gneissose and granitic domes in northern Vietnam formed in a dextral-transpressional ductile shear regime, possibly associated with large-scale restraining step-overs along dextral faults. Initial anticlinal D1 doming involved folding of both basement and hanging wall rocks with D1 secondary folds that verge toward the anticlinal axes. Such folds reflect dome-scale flexural slip folding. With continued shortening, D2 detachment faults developed on the flanks of the anticlines along the hanging wall-basement interface, so that the basement was extruded vertically into the overlying hanging wall rocks. The detachment faults were associated with D2 drag folds that verge away from the anticlinal axes. The hanging wall assemblage lacks a well-ordered stratigraphy, displaying primarily block-in-matrix fabric. We identified bedded cherts, associated with umbers and alkalic basaltic intrusions within these hanging wall rocks, a first report of such rocks from Vietnam. The association of cherts, umbers, and basaltic intrusions and extrusions with block-in-matrix units with clastic rocks strongly suggest that the hanging wall rocks comprise part of a subduction complex. Because the base of a subduction complex is a former subduction megathrust horizon, the hanging wall-basement interface represents a reactivated collisional suture. Such a suture was probably associated with the Indosinian orogeny, and the basement should be the Indochina continental block. This structure may have influenced the position of Miocene dextral faulting in addition to controlling the position of the dome detachments. The well-known Red River fault marks the boundary of one of the domes, but in this region it appears to be a detachment (normal) fault rather than a dextral strike-slip fault. However, the association with the dome evolution with large-scale restraining step-overs suggests that dextral faulting associated with dome development may lie further away from the dome axes than the detachment.
- Dextral-transpressional ductile shear
- Extrusion and brittle detachment fault
- Gneissose and granitic domes tectonically covered by accretionary complex
- Reactivation of collisional suture
- Red River fault
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth-Surface Processes