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Initiation of crustal-scale thrusts triggered by metamorphic reactions at depth: Insights from a comparison between the Himalayas and Scandinavian Caledonides

Abstract : Active eclogitization has recently been inferred at depth beneath the Himalaya from geophysical observations, and the mechanical consequences of eclogitization can be observed in the field in the eroded and extended nappe stack of the Scandinavian Caledonides. There, Proterozoic metastable granulites and igneous protoliths underwent partial eclogitization during the collision of Baltica with Laurentia. The reaction began in pseudotachylites and veins and eventually formed a connected network of eclogite-facies shear zones that localized deformation and weakened the lower crust of Baltica during the collision with Laurentia. All these features can be compared with the seismic activity of the Indian Lower Crust, its strength loss beneath the Himalayan ranges, and its delayed density increase regarding its penetration in the eclogite facies. The Caledonian Bergen Arc eclogites and the Himalayan Ama Drime eclogites are both derived from continental crust. In both cases, these eclogites were formed contemporaneously with the activation of the main thrusts responsible for the construction of the orogenic wedges, the Main Central Thrust in the Himalayas, and the main thrust below the Jotun Nappe Complex in the Caledonides. The similarities in these two orogens, which compare both in size and structure, highlight the importance of eclogitization at depth as a mechanism for weakening of the lower crust and for decoupling of the crust and lithospheric mantle in collision zones.
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Loic Labrousse, György Hetényi, Hugues Raimbourg, Laurent Jolivet, Torgeir B. Andersen. Initiation of crustal-scale thrusts triggered by metamorphic reactions at depth: Insights from a comparison between the Himalayas and Scandinavian Caledonides. Tectonics, American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2010, 29 (TC5002), 14 p. ⟨10.1029/2009TC002602⟩. ⟨insu-00529451⟩

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