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The Valais units in Savoy (France): a key area for understanding the palaeogeography and the tectonic evolution of the Western Alps

Abstract : The Valais units in Savoy (Zone des Brèches de Tarentaise) have been re-mapped in great detail and are subject of combined stratigraphic, structural and petrological investigations summarized in this contribution. The sediments and rare relics of basement, together with Cretaceous age mafic and ultramafic rocks of the Valais palaeogeographical domain, represent the heavily deformed relics of the former distal European margin (External Valais units) and an ocean-continent transition (Internal Valais unit or Versoyen unit) that formed during rifting. This rifting led to the opening of the Valais ocean, a northern branch of the Alpine Tethys. Post-rift sediments referred to as "Valais trilogy" stratigraphically overlie both External and Internal Valais successions above an angular unconformity formed in Barremian to Aptian times, providing robust evidence for the timing of the opening of the Valais ocean. The Valais units in Savoy are part of a second and more external mid-Eocene high-pressure belt in the Alps that sutured the Briançonnais microcontinent to Europe. Top-N D1-deformation led to the formation of a nappe stack that emplaced the largely eclogite-facies Internal Valais unit (Versoyen) onto blueschist-facies External Valais units. The latter originally consisted of, from internal to external, the Petit St. Bernard unit, the Roc de l'Enfer unit, the Moûtiers unit and the Quermoz unit. Ongoing top-N D2-thrusting and folding substantially modified this nappe stack. Post 35 Ma D3 folding led to relatively minor modifications of the nappe stack within the Valais units but was associated with substantial top-WNW thrusting of the Valais units over the Dauphinois units along the Roselend thrust during W-directed indentation of the Adria block contributing to the formation of the arc of the Western Alps.
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https://hal-insu.archives-ouvertes.fr/insu-00611760
Contributor : Isabelle Dubigeon <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, July 27, 2011 - 1:46:25 PM
Last modification on : Friday, April 5, 2019 - 8:22:51 PM

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Andrea Loprieno, Romain Bousquet, Stefan Bucher, Stefano Ceriani, . Et Al. The Valais units in Savoy (France): a key area for understanding the palaeogeography and the tectonic evolution of the Western Alps. International Journal of Earth Sciences, Springer Verlag, 2011, 100 (5), pp.963-992. ⟨10.1007/s00531-010-0595-1⟩. ⟨insu-00611760⟩

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