Stacking and metamorphism of continuous segments of subducted lithosphere in a high-pressure wedge: The example of Alpine Corsica (France)

Abstract : Alpine Corsica consists of a stack of variably metamorphosed units of continental and Tethys-derived rocks. It represents an excellent example of high-pressure (HP) orogenic belt, such as the Western Alps, exposed over a small and accessible area. Compared to the Western Alps, the geology of Alpine Corsica is poorly unraveled. During the 1970s-80s, based on either lithostratigraphic or metamorphic field observations, various classifications of the belt have been proposed, but these classifications have been rarely matched together. Furthermore, through time, the internal complexity of large domains has been progressively left aside in the frame of large-scale geodynamic reconstructions. As a consequence, major open questions on the internal structure of the belt have remained unsolved. Apart from a few local studies, Alpine Corsica has not benefited of modern developments in petrology and basin research. This feature results in several uncertainties when combining lithostratigraphic and metamorphic patterns and, consequently, in the definition of an exhaustive architecture of the belt. In this paper we provide a review on the geology of Alpine Corsica, paying particular attention to the available lithostratigraphic and metamorphic classifications of the metamorphic terranes. These data are completed by a new and exhaustive metamorphic dataset obtained by means of thermometry based on Raman Spectroscopy of Carbonaceous Material (RSCM). This technique provides reliable insights on the peak temperature of the metamorphic history for CM-bearing metasediments. A detailed metamorphic characterization of metasediments, which have been previously largely ignored due to retrogression or to the lack of diagnostic mineralogy, is thus obtained and fruitfully coupled with the available lithostratigraphic data. Nine main tectono-metamorphic units are defined, from subgreenschist (ca. 280-300 °C) to the lawsonite-eclogite-facies (ca. 500-550 °C) condition. These units are homogeneous in metamorphism, laterally continuous and have characteristic lithostratigraphic features. This study also suggests a direct link between the pre-orogenic extensional setting and the present-day compressional structure of Alpine Corsica, indicating that large sections of subducted lithosphere were subducted and exhumed as coherent domains. These features provide important insight on the mechanism of stacking and exhumation of HP rocks, and make Alpine Corsica a unique reference for mountain-building processes in Tethyan-type orogens.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 10:33:30 AM
Last modification on : Friday, January 31, 2020 - 1:30:04 PM

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A. Vitale-Brovarone, Olivier Beyssac, Jacques Malavieille, Giancarlo Molli, Marco Beltrando, et al.. Stacking and metamorphism of continuous segments of subducted lithosphere in a high-pressure wedge: The example of Alpine Corsica (France). Earth-Science Reviews, Elsevier, 2013, 116, pp.35-56. ⟨10.1016/j.earscirev.2012.10.003⟩. ⟨hal-00814433⟩

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