Polyphase deformation along the South Bohemian Batholith-Moldanubian nappes boundary – The Freyenstein Fault System (Bohemian Massif/Austria)

Gerit E. U. Griesmeier 1 , Christoph Iglseder 1 , Ralf Schuster 1 , and Konstantin Petrakakis 2
  • 1 Geological Survey of Austria, , Neulinggasse 38, 1030, Vienna, Austria
  • 2 Department of Geodynamics and Sedimentology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090, Vienna, Austria


This work describes the Freyenstein Fault System, which extends over 45 km in the southeastern part of the Bohemian Massif (Lower Austria). It represents a ductile shear zone overprinted by a brittle fault located at the eastern edge of the South Bohemian Batholith towards the Moldanubian nappes. It affects Weinsberg- and a more “fine-grained” granite, interlayered aplitic granite and pegmatite dikes as well as paragneiss of the Ostrong Nappe System. The ductile shear zone is represented by approximately 500 m thick greenschist-facies mylonite dipping about 60° to the southeast. Shear-sense criteria like clast geometries, SCC`-type shear band fabrics as well as abundant microstructures show top to the south/ southsouthwest normal shearing with a dextral strike-slip component. Mineral assemblages in mylonitized granitoid consist of pre- to syntectonic muscovite- and biotite-porphyroclasts as well as dynamically recrystallized potassium feldspar, plagioclase and quartz. Dynamic recrystallization of potassium feldspar and the stability of biotite indicate upper green-schist-facies metamorphic conditions during the early phase of deformation. Fluid infiltration at lower greenschist-facies conditions led to local sericitization of feldspar and synmylonitic chloritisation of biotite during a later stage of ductile deformation. Finally, a brittle overprint by a north-south trending, subvertical, sinistral strike-slip fault that shows a normal component is observed. Ductile normal shearing along the Freyenstein Shear Zone is interpreted to have occurred between 320 Ma and c. 300 Ma. This time interval is indicated by literature data on the emplacement of the hostrock and cooling below c. 300°C inferred from two Rb-Sr biotite ages measured on undeformed granites close to the shear zone yielding 309.6 ± 3 Ma and 290.9 ± 2.9 Ma, respectively. Brittle sinistral strike-slip faulting at less than 300°C presumably took place not earlier than 300 Ma. Early ductile shearing along the Freyenstein Fault System may be genetically, but not kinematically linked to the Strudengau Shear Zone, as both acted in an extensional regime during late Variscan orogenic collapse. A relation to other major northeast-southwest trending faults of this part of the Bohemian Massif (e.g. the Vitis-Pribyslav Fault System) is indicated for the phase of brittle sinistral movement.

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