Section 21
Chapter 20,154

Subduction tectonic erosion and Late Cretaceous subsidence along the northern Austroalpine margin (Eastern Alps, Austria)

Wagreich Michael

Tectonophysics 242(1-2): 63-78


ISSN/ISBN: 0040-1951
DOI: 10.1016/0040-1951(94)00151-x
Accession: 020153829

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The Late Cretaceous to Early Tertiary subsidence history of the Northern Calcareous Alps (NCA) records the effect of two independent basin formation mechanisms at the northern leading margin of the Austroalpine unit. The terrestrial to shallow-marine sediments of the Lower Gosau Subgroup were deposited mainly within small, fault-bound basins during a phase of strike-slip faulting from the late Turonian onwards. After a short period of uplift, deformation and erosion of 1 to 3 Ma, renewed rapid subsidence followed. During this period the whole NCA subsided into bathyal to abyssal depths. The characteristics of this second evolutionary phase are: (1) a short period of uplift and erosion, followed by strong subsidence of the whole NCA with tectonic subsidence rates up to 700 m/Ma; (2) sedimentation of turbidites and hemipelagites (Upper Gosau Subgroup (3) northward tilting of the depositional area; (4) elimination of an accretionary wedge north of the NCA as the main source for the sediments; and (5) a pronounced migration of the subsidence event from the northwest to the southeast from late Turonian/Santonian to the Maastrichtian. These features can be explained by a model of subduction tectonic erosion along the northern margin of the Austroalpine unit, a part of the Adriatic microplate. Tectonic erosion, as compared to recent analogues and fore-arc modelling, may be due to the collision and oblique subduction of an oceanic swell or ridge of the Penninic plate beneath the overriding Austroalpine unit with the NCA on its leading northern margin.

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