Long-wavelength late-Miocene thrusting in the north Alpine foreland: implications for late orogenic processes

Mock, Samuel; von Hagke, Christoph; Schlunegger, Fritz; Dunkl, István; Herwegh, Marco

In this paper, we present new exhumation ages for the imbricated proximal molasse, i.e. Subalpine Molasse, of the northern Central Alps. Based on apatite inline-formula M1inlinescrollmathml chem ( normal U - normal Th - normal Sm ) / normal He 82pt14ptsvg-formulamathimg85cd7cfabec0782a4966b7435f363872 se-11-1823-2020-ie00001.svg82pt14ptse-11-1823-2020-ie00001.png thermochronometry, we constrain thrust-driven exhumation in the Subalpine Molasse between 12 and 4 Ma. This occurs synchronously to the main deformation in the adjacent Jura fold-and-thrust belt farther north and to the late stage of thrust-related exhumation of the basement massifs (i.e. external crystalline massifs) in the hinterland. Our results agree with other findings along the north Alpine foreland. While site-specific variations in the mechanical stratigraphy of the molasse deposits influence the pattern of thrusting at the local scale, we observe that late-Miocene thrusting is a long-wavelength feature occurring along the north Alpine foreland roughly between Lake Geneva and Salzburg. The extent of this thrusting signal as well as the timing suggests that late-Miocene thrusting in the north Alpine foreland coincides with the geometries and dynamics of the attached Central Alpine slab at depth. Interestingly, this implies that the slab geometry at depth does not coincide with the boundary between the Eastern and Central Alps as observed in the surface geology. Using this observation, we propose that thrusting in the Subalpine Molasse and consequently also the late stage of thrust-related exhumation of the external crystalline massifs, as well as the main deformation in the Jura fold-and-thrust belt are at least partly linked to changes in slab dynamics.

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Mock, Samuel / von Hagke, Christoph / Schlunegger, Fritz / et al: Long-wavelength late-Miocene thrusting in the north Alpine foreland: implications for late orogenic processes. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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