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Basement – Cover decoupling and progressive exhumation of metamorphic sediments at hot rifted margin. Insights from the Northeastern Pyrenean analog

Abstract : We compile field data collected along the eastern part of the North Pyrenean Zone (NPZ) to point to a tectonic evolution under peculiar thermal conditions applying to the basin sediments in relation with the opening of the Cretaceous Pyrenean rift. Based on this compilation, we show that when thinning of the continental crust increased , isotherms moved closer to the surface with the result that the brittle-ductile transition propagated upward and reached sediments deposited at the early stage of the basin opening. During the continental breakup, the pre-rift Mesozoic cover was efficiently decoupled from the Paleozoic basement along the Triassic evaporite level and underwent drastic ductile thinning and boudinage. We suggest that the upper Albian and upper Creta-ceous flysches acted as a blanket allowing temperature increase in the mobile pre-rift cover. Finally, we show that continuous spreading of the basin floor triggered the exhumation of the metamorphic, ductily sheared pre-rift cover, thus contributing to the progressive thinning of the sedimentary pile. In a second step, we investigate the detailed geological records of such a hot regime evolution along a reference-section of the eastern NPZ. We propose a balanced restoration from the Mouthoumet basement massif (north) to the Boucheville Albian basin (south). This section shows a north to south increase in the HT Pyrenean imprint from almost no metamorphic recrystallization to more than 600 °C in the pre-and syn-rift sediments. From this reconstruction, we propose a scenario of tectonic thinning involving the exhumation of the pre-rift cover by the activation of various detachment surfaces at different levels in the sedimentary pile. In a third step, examination of the architecture of current distal passive margin domains provides confident comparison between the Pyrenean case and modern analogs. Finally, we propose a general evolutionary model for the pre-rift sequence of the Northeastern Pyrenean rifted margin.
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Camille Clerc, Yves Lagabrielle, Pierre Labaume, Jean-Claude Ringenbach, Alain Vauchez, et al.. Basement – Cover decoupling and progressive exhumation of metamorphic sediments at hot rifted margin. Insights from the Northeastern Pyrenean analog. Tectonophysics, Elsevier, 2016, 686, pp.82-97. ⟨10.1016/j.tecto.2016.07.022⟩. ⟨insu-01355131⟩

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