Major early thrusting as a control on the Palaeoproterozoic evolution of the Lewisian Complex: evidence from the Outer Hebrides, NW Scotland
New structural, metamorphic and geochronological data suggest that the Lewisian Complex of the Outer Hebrides can be interpreted as a Proterozoic orogen in which a thrust sheet of juvenile arc material was driven over Archaean gneisses at an early stage. Incubation and loading of the underlying Archaean gneisses triggered prograde metamorphism and extensive ductile deformation with a strong gravitational flattening component combined with top-to-the-WNW transport. Large shear zones developed at this time are of local importance, but are not fundamental structural boundaries. The recognition of early orogenic thrusting followed by extensive ductile deformation shows a close resemblance to the sequence of events recognized within the Nagssugtoqidian orogen, with which the Lewisian Complex is correlated. As in the Nagssugtoqidian orogen, younger penetrative ductile deformation often masks the major structural boundaries formed by older thrusts.