Detrital zircon U-Pb ages and Hf isotopic constraints on the terrigenous sediments of the Western Alps and their paleogeographic implications

Yang Chu 1 Wei Lin 1 Michel Faure 2, 3 Qingchen Wang 1
3 Géodynamique - UMR7327
BRGM - Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières (BRGM), ISTO - Institut des Sciences de la Terre d'Orléans - UMR7327 : UMR7327, INSU - CNRS - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers , UO - Université d'Orléans : UMR7327
Abstract : Detrital zircons from Cretaceous micaschist, Late Eocene-Earliest Oligocene sandstone and Early Oligocene siltstone of the Western Alps fall into three main separable age clusters at 610-540 Ma, 490-430 Ma, and 340-280 Ma that correspond to the Cadomian (Neoproterozoic), Ordovician and Variscan (Carboniferous) events widespread in Western and Central Europe. Hf isotopic results indicate that these three magmatic and tectonic episodes did not give rise to significant production of juvenile crust. A distinguishable group of Triassic zircons, around 250-200 Ma which is considered to derive from the Southern Alps, has been detected in the Early Oligocene "Schistes à Blocs" formation and the Brianconnais “Flysch Noir”. In contrast, this age group is absent in Late Eocene-Earliest Oligocene sandstones. In agreement with sedimentological studies, our results show that the main source areas of the Eocene sandstone were probably located in the European continent. The arrival of detritus from the Internal Zone occurred in Early Oligocene, coeval with the tectonic rotation from northwestward to westward in the propagation of allochthonous units. Based on previous studies and our new data, we argue that the the Brianconnais Zone was likely a paleorelief since the Middle Eocene that accounts for the lack of detritus from the Adriatic units. Contemporary sediments were accumulated in the foredeep of the Adriatic Plate. From Oligocene time onwards, the blockage was cut through after a regional uplifting, and thus the Internal Zone started to provide detritus into the western flexural basins.
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Yang Chu, Wei Lin, Michel Faure, Qingchen Wang. Detrital zircon U-Pb ages and Hf isotopic constraints on the terrigenous sediments of the Western Alps and their paleogeographic implications. Tectonics, American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2016, 35, pp.2734-2753. ⟨10.1002/2016TC004276⟩. ⟨insu-01396478⟩

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