Areas of Active Tectonic Uplift Are Sensitive to Small Changes in Fold Orientations within a Broad Zone of Left-lateral Transpression and Shearing, Dominican Republic and Haiti (Hispaniola)

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Paul Mann and Ian Ambrosius, University of Houston, Houston, TX, United States
Previous GPS studies have shown that the island of Hispaniola is a 250 km-wide zone of active, east-west, left-lateral shearing along two major strike-slip zones: the Septentrional-Oriente fault zone through the northern part of the island and the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone (EPGFZ) through the southern part of the island. The total interplate rate distributed on both faults is 21 mm/yr. Using a high-resolution DEM, we constructed fluvial channel profiles across transpression-related folds of late Miocene to recent age in the area of central and southern Dominican Republic and Haiti to determine controls of areas of relatively high, moderate, and slow uplift inferred from fluvial channel profiles. Fold axes in this area extend for 50-150 km and exhibit two different trends: 1) folds that occupy the area of the Sierra de Neiba-Chaine des Matheux north of the Enriquillo-Cul-de-Sac Valley and EPGFZ and folds that occupy the area of the Sierra de Bahoruco-Massif de la Selle all exhibit more east-west fold axes trending 110; 2) folds that occupy the area northwest of the EPGFZ in the western Chaine des Matheux and Sierra de Neiba all exhibit fold axes with more northwest trends of 125. River channel profiles show that the second group of more northwesterly-trending fold axes show relatively higher rates of tectonic uplift based on their convex-upward river profiles. Our interpretation for regional variations in river profiles and inferred uplift is that uplift is more pronounced on fold axes trending 15 degrees more to the northwest because their axes are more oblique to the interplate direction of east-west shearing. Longterm uplift rates previously measured from a stairstep of late Quaternary coral terraces at the plunging nose of the westernmost Chaine des Matheux have been previously shown to be occurring at a rate of 0.19 mm/yr. Onland exposures of Holocene corals are found only on one locality within the southern area of folds 30 km west of the epicenter of the 2010 Mw 7.0 Haiti earthquake. This emerged Holocene coral terrace - a unique marine Holocene exposure in the northern Caribbean - is directly adjacent to the Tapion Hill restraining bend-related anticline on the main trace of the EPGFZ.