Cretaceous-Eocene compression in the central southern Alps N Italy inferred from40 Ar/39 Ar dating of pseudotachylytes along regional thrust faults
Zanchetta, S.; D'Adda, P.; Zanchi, A.; Barberini, V.; Villa, I.M.
Journal of Geodynamics 51.4
The integration of structural analyses with(40) Ar/(39) Ar dating of fault-related pseudotachylytes provides time constraints for the reconstruction of the Alpine evolution of the central portion of the South Alpine orogenic wedge. In the northern sector of the belt a Variscan basement is stacked southward on the Permian to Mesozoic cover along regional faults (Orobic and Porcile thrusts). Fault zones, slightly postdating a first folding event of Alpine age, experienced a complex evolution through the ductile and brittle deformation regime, showing greenschist facies mylonites overprinted by a penetrative cataclastic deformation. Generation of fault-related pseudotachylyte veins marks the onset of brittle conditions, lasting up to the youngest episodes of fault activity.(40) Ar/(39) Ar dating of the pseudotachylyte matrix of 9 samples give two separated age clusters: Late Cretaceous (80-68 Ma) and latest Palaeocene to Middle Eocene (55-43 Ma). These new data provide evidence that the pre-Adamello evolution of the central Southern Alps was characterised by the superposition of different tectonic events accompanying the exhumation of the deepest part of the belt through the brittle-ductile transition. The oldest pseudotachylyte ages demonstrate that south-verging regional thrusting in the central Southern Alps was already active during the Late Cretaceous, concurrently with the development of a synorogenic foredeep basin where the Upper Cretaceous Lombardian Flysch was deposited. Our reconstruction provides direct evidence for an important Cretaceous "EoAlpine" orogenic event which was nearly coeval to the HP metamorphism affecting the Austroalpine units of the eastern Alps. In our view, the Upper Cretaceous Southern Alps can be interpreted as the south-verging retrobelt, which formed during subduction phenomena active to the north in the Austroalpine realm. Abstract Copyright (2011) Elsevier, B.V.