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Offshore Oligo-Miocene volcanic fields within the Corsica-Liguria Basin: Magmatic diversity and slab evolution in the western Mediterranean Sea

Abstract : The European and Corsica-Sardinia margins of the Ligurian Sea (western Mediterranean) have been affected by a geochemically diverse igneous activity, offshore and onshore, since the Eocene. This magmatism occurred in a global subduction-related framework. On the European side, the oldest Tertiary magmatism dated at ca. 35 Ma was mainly calc-alkaline. It included the emplacement of plutonic bodies of adakitic affinity, such as the quartz microdiorite laccolith locally referred to as "esterellite". Younger magmatic events on-land within the whole Ligurian domain were mostly medium-K or K-rich calc-alkaline. Miocene volcanic activity was important in Sardinia, where andesites and ignimbrites were erupted during several magmatic cycles. In Corsica, it was minor although it emplaced lamprophyres near Sisco at 15 Ma. Dredging and diving cruises conducted in the Ligurian Sea during the last thirty years allowed us to collect a number of submarine samples. We discuss here their geochemistry (major and trace elements) and their whole-rock K-Ar ages and mineral 40Ar-39Ar plateau ages. Around 15 Ma, minor amounts of adakitic lavas were emplaced off southwestern Corsica, in the deepest part of the Liguria-Corsica Basin. They rested over the thinnest southwestern Corsica Hercynian continental crust. Closer to the coast, contemporaneous calc-alkaline rocks erupted on a less thinned crust. The adakitic events could be indicative of either the final stages of active subduction, or alternatively of a slab tearing linked to the southeastern retreat and steepening of the slab. The latter event could be connected with the end of the Corsica-Sardinia block drifting and its correlative eastern collision. Younger volcanic effusions, dated at 14-6 Ma, occurred mostly northwest and north of Corsica. K-rich calc-alkaline basalts, shoshonites and K-rich trachytes were emplaced during this period, and alkali basalts erupted as early as 12 Ma in Sardinia. In the Toulon area, alkali basalts dated at 7-6 Ma represent the last onshore activity just before the Messinian crisis, and the Pliocene alkali basaltic outpouring in Sardinia. We propose to link these latter volcanic events to the development of a slab window in a post-collisional tectonic framework.
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Jean-Pierre Réhault, Christian Honthaas, Pol Guennoc, Hervé Bellon, Gilles Ruffet, et al.. Offshore Oligo-Miocene volcanic fields within the Corsica-Liguria Basin: Magmatic diversity and slab evolution in the western Mediterranean Sea. Journal of Geodynamics, Elsevier, 2012, 58, pp.73-95. ⟨10.1016/j.jog.2012.02.003⟩. ⟨insu-00693261⟩

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