Folding mechanisms within the Saltville Thrust Sheet, Valley and Ridge Province, Tennessee

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The Ohio State University

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Field and laboratory analysis of structures present in an outcrop of a massive carbonate unit within the Ordovician Sevier Shale, located in the Saltville thrust sheet in northeast Tennessee, indicates that folding was produced by a buckling mechanism accommodated by flexural-slip/flow during thrust sheet transport. The modified class 1B geometry of the folds and the kinematic indicators found in the outcrop are consistent with these folding mechanisms. Analysis of timing relations of the structures, as well as comparisons to studies performed on similar rock units in the vicinity of this outcop, indicate that modification of the folds by a flattening mechanism occurred during thrust sheet transport as well. Greater flattening strain observed in the folds of the southern area of the outcrop compared to those in the northern area can be explained by thrusting on a surface to the immediate south of the southern folds.