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Rift-to-collision transition recorded by tectono-thermal evolution of the northern Pyrenees

Abstract : The impact of rift-related processes on tectonic and thermal evolution of collisional orogens is poorly documented. Here, we study the northern Pyrenees, a region that has preserved a geological record of the transition from rifting to collision. Using modeling of new low-temperature thermochronological data, including fission track and (U-Th)/He on apatite and zircon, we propose a temporal reconstruction of the inversion of the European rifted margin. Our data confirm that rifting and related cooling started in the Late Paleozoic-Triassic. Throughout the Jurassic and Early Cretaceous the European margin recorded slow heating during postrift subdsidence. Modeling of thermochronological data allows distinguishing subsidence and denudation controlled by south dipping normal faults in granitic massifs that reflect a second episode of crustal thinning at 130–110 Ma. Following onset of convergence at 83 Ma, shortening accumulated into the weak and hot Albian-Cenomanian rift basins floored by both hyperextended continental crust and exhumed subcontinental mantle. The lack of cooling during this initial stage of convergence is explained by the persistence of a high geothermal gradient. The onset of exhumation-related cooling is recognized in the whole Pyrenean region at 50–35 Ma. This timing reveals that the main phase of mountain building started when hyperextended rift basins closed and collision between proximal domains of the rifted margin occurred.
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Arnaud Vacherat, Frédéric Mouthereau, Raphaël Pik, Nicolas Bellahsen, Cécile Gautheron, et al.. Rift-to-collision transition recorded by tectono-thermal evolution of the northern Pyrenees. Tectonics, American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2016, 35, pp.907-933. ⟨10.1002/2015TC004016⟩. ⟨hal-01304170⟩

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