Fernández, F. J., I. Rodríguez, J. Escuder-Viruete, and A. Pérez-Estaún (2016), Exhumation of high-P marbles of the Samaná Terrane (Northern Hispaniola): Insights from paleostress and microstructural imprints, Tectonophysics, 686, 116-131, doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tecto.2016.07.025.
Paleostress variations and microstructural imprints of a subducted carbonate slab record changes in mechanical strength during its exhumation. The slab studied here forms part of the high-P Samaná Terrane located on the north-eastern margin of the Hispaniola Island. Cold-cathodoluminescence images reveal relict cataclastic fabrics within the highest-pressure marbles of the Punta Balandra and Santa Bárbara Schists structural units, formed in the early stages of exhumation at P-T conditions ca. 2.0 GPa − 500 °C. Cataclastic flow was triggered after a moderate increase of water content (1.2% < w.t. H2O < 1.8%). Accordingly, grain sizes larger than equivalent radius ri = 40 μm preserve distribution of power law type with fractal dimensions D2 = 2.43 in Punta Balandra unit and D2 = 2.72 in Santa Bárbara unit. After cataclastic flow, the stress dropped and grain comminution conducted the marbles to the dissolution-precipitation domain. Then, as exhumation progressed, the effective stress increased and calcite intracrystalline plasticity process dominated. Calcite-twinning incidence and recrystallized grain-size indicate maximum paleostress ca. 350 MPa and mean flow paleostress ≈ 130 MPa. SEM-EBSD analyses show similar weak type-c calcite fabrics in all high-P carbonate units, even though they record different metamorphic P peak. Therefore, intracrystalline plasticity was probably dominant during the development of the final tectonic fabric. Finer grain-size distributions are out of fractal range, with D1 < 1, because of the further superposed deformation. Most of the data are consistent with an initial forced exhumation model of the carbonate slab in a brittle-ductile rheology of the confined plate interface.