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Deciphering the Age and Significance of the Cora Lake Shear Zone: Athabasca Granulite Terrane, Northern Saskatchewan

Interpreting the tectonic significance of high strain zones requires detailed knowledge of the P-T-t-D history of rocks on either side and of tectonized rocks within the shear zone. In-situ monazite geochronology is particularly useful because it generates a time-integrated framework of metamorphism and fabric development. This can be achieved by correlating monazite compositional domains with the growth and consumption of major phases. Furthermore, monazite can be a fabric forming mineral, and can be directly linked to structural fabrics and kinematics. The Cora Lake shear zone (CLsz) represents a major lithotectonic discontinuity within the deep crustal Athabasca Granulite terrain, and preserves intense mylonitic to ultramylonitic fabrics. The 3-5 km wide CLsz strikes ~231°, and dips ~62° to the Northwest, has a moderately plunging stretching lineation (SW trend) with abundant sinistral kinematic indicators. These data indicate oblique extension with NW hanging wall down and to the SW relative to the SE footwall. The NW hangingwall is dominated by the ca. 2.6 Ga charnockitic Mary batholith. The southeastern footwall is primarily underlain by the heterogeneous ca. 3.3-3.0 Ga Chipman tonaite straight gneiss. Although both share common Archean (ca. 2.55 Ga) and Paleoproterozoic (ca. 1.9 Ga) deformation events, the style and P-T conditions of deformation are different. The earliest phase of deformation within the NW hangingwall consists of a penetrative subhorizontal flow fabric at 0.9 GPa and ~725°C (2.56 Ga), but folding in the SE footwall associated with the development of a strong upright axially planar fabric at 1.35 GPa and 850°C. Deformation at ca 1.9 Ga was characterized by upright folding, similar in orientation, in both hangingwall (0.9 GPa; 725°C) and footwall (1.17 GPa; 825°C). Deformation related to the CLsz occurred at 1880 Ma (0.9-1.06 GPa; ~775°C), and is responsible for juxtaposing two levels of lower crust. The Cora Lake shear zone is interpreted to be the culmination of a trend of increased strength, localization, strain partitioning, and vertical coupling. Furthermore, the CLsz overprints fabrics from each wall, marks the development of a major lateral lithotectonic discontinuity, and an introduction of major structural and compositional heterogeneity within the lower continental crust.