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From ductile to brittle, late- to post-orogenic evolution of the Betic Cordillera: Structural insights from the northeastern Internal zones

Abstract : Relations between Alpine detachment-bounded metamorphic domes, crustal-scale strike-slip fault zones and sedimentary basins in the Internal zones of the Betic cordillera are still matter of debate. Current tectonic interpretations of these basins vary from late-orogenic extensional structures to compressional ones associated with strike-slip motions along major still active faults. Structural investigations including new field mapping, meso-scale faults recognition, palaeostress analysis of brittle small-scale faults systems were performed in the sedimentary cover of the Almanzora corridor and the Huércal-Overa basins, located either in the hanging wall unit of the Filabres extensional shear zone or at the termination of the Alhama de Murcia sinistral fault zone. In parallel, a detailed study of the ductile and the ductile-brittle deformation was carried out in the footwall unit of the Filabres extensional shear zone, in the Nevado-Fílabride complex. Three main brittle events were recognised in the basin cover including two extensional events that occurred prior to a weak tectonic inversion of the basin during a third, still active event. The first one, D1b is characterized by the development a first stress regime consistent with ~NW-SE extensional tectonics. Besides, the consistency between the latest ductile and the brittle kinematics for the Filabres extensional shear zone and the activity of meso-scale fault systems that primarily control the main SW-NE depocentres allow concluding to a top-to-the-NW continuum of strain during the final exhumation of the Nevado-Filábride complex. The resulting overall half-graben architecture of the basins is then related to the combination of the formation of the metamorphic domes that added a local control superimposed on the regional deformation. Indeed, after a consistent top-to-the-west shearing prevailing during most of the Nevado-Filábride exhumation, final exhumation stages were in turn, characterised by important kinematics changes with a subordinate top-to-the-NW sense of shear (D1b). The onset of sedimentation in the basins occurred shortly after the crossing of the ductile-brittle transition in the underlying metamorphic domes at ca. 14 Ma into SW-NE fault-bounded troughs. Tectonic subsidence was then maintained during D2b while extensional kinematics changed to N-S or even locally to SSW-NNE. Extensional tectonics then lasted most of the Tortonian during the final tectonic denudation increments of the Sierra de los Filabres achieved at ca. 9-8 Ma. Intramontane basins are therefore genuinely extensional and clearly related to the latest exhumation stages of the Nevado-Filábride complex in the back-arc domain. Conversely, at ca. 8 Ma, basins started to record a ~N-S to NNW-SSE compressional stress regime (D3b) and ceased to be active depocentres while shortening within the Internal zones then recorded only the Iberia/Africa convergence. The weak inversion of the basins however resulted either in the reactivation of originally extensional faults such as the Alhama de Murcia fault or the basin individualisation and a progressive water exchange reduction with the Atlantic ocean and is thus proposed to be directly responsible for the Late Miocene salinity crises.
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Romain Augier, Laurent Jolivet, Damien Do Couto, François Negro. From ductile to brittle, late- to post-orogenic evolution of the Betic Cordillera: Structural insights from the northeastern Internal zones. Bulletin de la Société Géologique de France, Société géologique de France, 2013, 184 (4-5), pp.405-425. ⟨10.2113/gssgfbull.184.4-5.405⟩. ⟨insu-00868910⟩



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