Crustal versus mantle core complexes

Abstract : Deep crustal and mantle rocks are exhumed in core complex mode of extension in three types of structures: metamorphic core complexes, oceanic core complexes and magma poor passive margins. Using available analogue and numerical models and their comparison with natural examples, the present paper reviews the mechanical processes involved in these different types of extensional setting. Three main aspects are considered: i) the primary role of lithosphere rheology, ii) the lithosphere-scale patterns of progressive deformation that lead to the exhumation of deep metamorphic or mantle rocks and iii) the initiation and development of detachment zones. Crustal core complexes develop in continental lithospheres whose Moho temperature is higher than 750 °C with “upper crust-dominated” strength profiles. Contrary to what is commonly believed, it is argued from analogue and numerical models that detachments that accommodate exhumation of core complexes do not initiate at the onset of extension but in the course of progressive extension when the exhuming ductile crust reaches the surface. In models, convex upward detachments result from a rolling hinge process. Mantle core complexes develop in either the oceanic lithosphere, at slow and ultra-slow spreading ridges, or in continental lithospheres, whose initial Moho temperature is lower than 750 °C, with “sub-Moho mantle-dominated” strength profiles. It is argued that the mechanism of mantle exhumation at passive margins is a nearly symmetrical necking process at lithosphere scale without major and permanent detachment, except if strong strain localization could occur in the lithosphere mantle. Distributed crustal extension, by upper crust faulting above a décollement along the ductile crust increases toward the rift axis up to crustal breakup. Mantle rocks exhume in the zone of crustal breakup accommodated by conjugate mantle shear zones that migrate with the rift axis, during increasing extension.
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Tectonophysics, Elsevier, 2018, 746, pp.22-45. 〈10.1016/j.tecto.2017.09.017〉
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Jean-Pierre Brun, Dimitrios Sokoutis, Céline Tirel, Frédéric Gueydan, Jean Van den Driessche, et al.. Crustal versus mantle core complexes. Tectonophysics, Elsevier, 2018, 746, pp.22-45. 〈10.1016/j.tecto.2017.09.017〉. 〈insu-01610186〉



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