Age of Alpine Corsica ophiolites revisited: Insights from in situ zircon U-Pb age and O-Hf isotopes

Abstract : Knowledge of the age and timing of ophiolite sequences is essential for understanding the mechanisms of plate tectonics. The ophiolites in the Schistes Lustrés and the Upper nappes of Alpine Corsica represent remnants of the Liguria-Piemonte ocean basin that formed as a branch of the Central Atlantic basin during the opening of the Mesozoic Western Alpine Tethys. Despite numerous isotopic and paleontological studies, the age and timing of the ophiolites in the Schistes Lustrés nappe are still controversial. This study presents integrated in situ analyses of zircon U-Pb age and O-Hf isotopic data for ophiolitic gabbros and plagiogranites from three localities in the Schistes Lustrés nappe of Eastern Corsica. Our new results demonstrate that these rocks crystallized synchronously at ~ 159 Ma, approximately 10 m.y. younger than the ophiolites in the Balagne Upper nappe. Zircons from the gabbros and plagiogranites are characterized by highly positive εHf(t) (+ 15.0 to + 15.9) and mantle-like δ18O (5.2-5.4‰) values. Thus, these ophiolitic rocks were cogenetic, and crystallized from magmas produced by partial melting of a depleted, N-MORB type mantle. By contrast, in the Balagne Upper nappe, the ~ 169 Ma ophiolites contain numerous xenocrystic zircons inherited from a continental crust. Our current knowledge of isotopic geochronology and geochemistry supports a paleogeographic reconstruction, in which the earliest ophiolites in the Balagne nappe were emplaced close to a continental margin at ~ 169 Ma, whilst the N-MORB type ophiolites in the Schistes Lustrés nappe were likely formed approximately 10 m.y. later in the central part of the Liguria-Piemonte oceanic basin. The relative location of the Schistes Lustrés and Balagne Upper nappes with respect to continental margins is discussed.
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Xian-Hua Li, Michel Faure, Philippe Rossi, Wei Lin, Didier Lahondère. Age of Alpine Corsica ophiolites revisited: Insights from in situ zircon U-Pb age and O-Hf isotopes. Lithos, Elsevier, 2015, 220-223, pp.179-190. ⟨10.1016/j.lithos.2015.02.006⟩. ⟨insu-01118188⟩

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