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Strain localization in a fossilized subduction channel: Insights from the Cycladic Blueschist Unit (Syros, Greece)

Abstract : Syros Island is worldwide known for its preservation of HP-LT parageneses in the Cycladic Blueschist Unit (CBU) providing one of the best case-studies to understand the tectonometamorphic evolution of a subduction channel. Conflicting structural interpretations have been proposed to explain the geological architecture of Syros, in part reflecting a lack of consensus about the tectonic structure of the CBU. In this study, the geological and tectonometamorphic maps of Syros have been entirely redrawn in order to decipher the structure of a fossilized subduction channel. Based on structural and petrological observations, the CBU has been subdivided into three subunits separated by major ductile shear zones. New observations of the Vari Unit confirm that it rests on top of the CBU through a detachment or exhumation fault. While retrograde top-to-the E/NE shearing overprinting prograde deformation is widespread across the island, the prograde deformation has been only locally preserved within the less retrograded units. We show that after the prograde top-to-the S/SW shearing deformation, the CBU was exhumed by an overall top-to-the E/NE shearing from the depth of the eclogite-facies all the way to the depth of the greenschist-facies and finally, to the brittle crust. The exhumation process encompassed the syn-orogenic stage (contemporaneous of subduction, within the subduction channel — Eocene) to the post-orogenic stage (contemporaneous with the formation of the Aegean Sea — Oligocene to Miocene). From syn-orogenic to post-orogenic exhumation, deformation progressively localized toward the base of the CBU, along large-scale ductile shear zones, allowing the preservation of earlier HP-LT structures and HP-LT metamorphic parageneses. Finally, this study brings new insights on the tectonometamorphic evolution of a subduction channel showing how strain localizes during the history of an accretionary complex, both during the prograde and retrograde history.
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Valentin Laurent, Laurent Jolivet, Vincent Roche, Romain Augier, Stéphane Scaillet, et al.. Strain localization in a fossilized subduction channel: Insights from the Cycladic Blueschist Unit (Syros, Greece). Tectonophysics, Elsevier, 2016, 672-673, pp.150-169. ⟨10.1016/j.tecto.2016.01.036⟩. ⟨insu-01290748⟩

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