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Submarine reworking of exhumed subcontinental mantle rocks: field evidence from the Lherz peridotites, French Pyrenees

Yves Lagabrielle 1 Jean-Louis Bodinier 1, *
* Corresponding author
Abstract : In the Pyrenees, the lherzolites nowhere occur as continuous units. Rather, they always outcrop as restricted bodies, never more than 3 km wide, scattered across Mesozoic sedimentary units along the North Pyrenean Fault. We report the results of a detailed analysis of the geological setting of the Lherz massif (central Pyrenees), the type-locality of lherzolites and one of the most studied occurrences of mantle rocks worldwide. The Lherz body is only 1.5 km long and belongs to a series of ultramafic bodies of restricted size (a few metres to some hundreds of metres), occurring within sedimentary formations composed mostly of carbonate breccias originating from the reworking of Mesozoic platform limestones and dolomites. The clastic formations also include numerous layers of polymictic breccias reworking lherzolitic clasts. These layers are found far from any lherzolitic body, implying that lherzolitic clasts cannot derive from the in situ fragmentation of an ultramafic body alone, but might also have been transported far away from their sources by sedimentary processes. A detailed analysis of the contacts between the Lherz ultramafic body and the surrounding limestones confirms that there is no fault contact and that sediments composed of ultramafic material have been emplaced into fissures within the brecciated carapace of the peridotites. These observations bear important constraints for the mode of emplacement of the lherzolite bodies. We infer that mantle exhumation may have occurred during Albian strike-slip deformation linked to the rotation of Iberia along the proto-North Pyrenean Fault.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, September 2, 2009 - 11:34:54 AM
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Yves Lagabrielle, Jean-Louis Bodinier. Submarine reworking of exhumed subcontinental mantle rocks: field evidence from the Lherz peridotites, French Pyrenees. Terra Nova, Wiley-Blackwell, 2008, 20 (1), pp.11-21. ⟨hal-00412602⟩

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