Exhumation of ultrahigh-pressure rocks beneath the Hornelen segment of the Nordfjord-Sogn Detachment Zone, western Norway

Scott Johnston, Bradley R. Hacker, Mihai N. Ducea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The Nordfjord-Sogn Detachment Zone of western Norway represents an archetype for crustal-scale normal faults that are typically cited as one of the primary mechanisms responsible for the exhumation of ultrahigh-pressure (UHP) terranes. In this paper, we investigate the role of normal-sense shear zones with respect to UHP exhumation using structural geology, thermobarometry, and geochronology of the Hornelen segment of the Nordfjord-Sogn Detachment Zone. The Hornelen segment of the zone is a 2-6 km thick, top-W shear zone, primarily developed within amphibolite-grade allochthonous rocks, that juxtaposes the UHP rocks of the Western Gneiss Complex in its footwall with lower-grade allochthons and Carboniferous-Devonian Basins in its hanging wall. New thermobarometry and Sm/Nd garnet geochronology show that these top-W fabrics were initiated at lower crustal depths of 30-40 km between 410 Ma and 400 Ma. Structural geology and quartz petrofabrics indicate that top-W shear was initially relatively evenly distributed across the shear zone, and then overprinted by discrete ductile-brittle detachment faults at slower strain rates during progressive deformation and exhumation. These results require a three-stage modal for UHP exhumation in which normal-sense shear zones exhumed UHP rocks from the base of the crust along initially broad ductile shear zones that were progressively overprinted by discrete ductile-brittle structures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1232-1248
Number of pages17
JournalBulletin of the Geological Society of America
Issue number9-10
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Exhumation
  • Hornelen Region
  • Low-angle detachment
  • Nordfjord-Sogn Detachment Zone
  • Ultrahigh-pressure rocks
  • Western Norway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology


Dive into the research topics of 'Exhumation of ultrahigh-pressure rocks beneath the Hornelen segment of the Nordfjord-Sogn Detachment Zone, western Norway'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this