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Evidence for brittle deformation events at eclogite-facies P-T conditions (example of the Mt. Emilius klippe, Western Alps)

Abstract : Eclogitic rocks are crucial for the understanding of tectonic processes as they provide key constraints on both the P-T-t evolutions and the deformation modes sustained by rocks in subduction zones. Here we focus on eclogitised and deformed mafic bodies that are exposed within granulites from the continental basement slice of the Mt. Emilius klippe (Western Alps, Italy). These eclogites exhibit highly deformed garnetite and clinopyroxenite layers. In some places, these deformed rocks (up to mylonitic grade) can be found as clasts within meter-thick brecciated fault rocks that formed close to the lawsonite-eclogite facies peak P-T conditions. Garnet-rich layers are dominated by brittle features, whereas deformation within clinopyroxene-rich layers is accommodated by both creep and fracturing. We present a petro-structural study of these eclogites, that allows to track the brittle deformation history associated with chemical evolution. Based on these data, we propose a new tectono-metamorphic model for these rocks, related to the alpine eclogitic stage. This model is consistent with the coexistence of both ductile and brittle features that developed at similar P-T conditions (i.e., at P ~ 2.15–2.40 GPa and T ~ 500–550 °C), and closely associated with fluid circulations. Our study demonstrates that crustal material, buried along the subduction interface at HP-LT conditions, can record several successive brittle events in places where deformation is classically envisioned as ductile. We suggest, based on our observations, that strain-rate increase along plate interface shear zones may trigger fracturing and fluid infiltration which in turn enables brittle-ductile instabilities along these deformation networks.
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Solenn Hertgen, Philippe Yamato, Luiz Morales, Samuel Angiboust. Evidence for brittle deformation events at eclogite-facies P-T conditions (example of the Mt. Emilius klippe, Western Alps). Tectonophysics, Elsevier, 2017, 706-707, pp.1-13. ⟨10.1016/j.tecto.2017.03.028⟩. ⟨insu-01502746⟩

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