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Cambrian–early Ordovician volcanism across the South Armorican and Occitan domains of the Variscan Belt in France: Continental break-up and rifting of the northern Gondwana margin

Abstract : The Cambrian–lower Ordovician volcanic units of the South Armorican and Occitan domains are analysed in a tectonostratigraphic survey of the French Variscan Belt. The South Armorican lavas consist of continental tholeiites in middle Cambrian–Furongian sequences related to continental break-up. A significant volcanic activity occurred in the Tremadocian, dominated by crustal melted rhyolitic lavas and initial rifting tholeiites. The Occitan lavas are distributed into five volcanic phases: (1) basal Cambrian rhyolites, (2) upper lower Cambrian Mg-rich tholeiites close to N-MORBs but crustal contaminated, (3) upper lower–middle Cambrian continental tholeiites, (4) Tremadocian rhyolites, and (5) upper lower Ordovician initial rift tholeiites. A rifting event linked to asthenosphere upwelling took place in the late early Cambrian but did not evolve. It renewed in the Tremadocian with abundant crustal melting due to underplating of mixed asthenospheric and lithospheric magmas. This main tectono-magmatic continental rift is termed the “Tremadocian Tectonic Belt” underlined by a chain of rhyolitic volcanoes from Occitan and South Armorican domains to Central Iberia. It evolved with the setting of syn-rift coarse siliciclastic deposits overlain by post-rift deep water shales in a suite of sedimentary basins that forecasted the South Armorican–Medio-European Ocean as a part of the Palaeotethys Ocean.
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André Pouclet, J. Javier Álvaro, Jacques-Marie Bardintzeff, Andrés Gil Imaz, Eric Monceret, et al.. Cambrian–early Ordovician volcanism across the South Armorican and Occitan domains of the Variscan Belt in France: Continental break-up and rifting of the northern Gondwana margin. Geoscience Frontiers, Elsevier, 2017, 8, pp.25-64. ⟨10.1016/j.gsf.2016.03.002⟩. ⟨insu-01330415⟩

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