Kinematics of subduction in the Ibero-Armorican arc constrained by 3D microstructural analysis of garnet and pseudomorphed lawsonite porphyroblasts from Île de Groix (Variscan belt)

Aerden, Domingo G. A. M.; Ruiz-Fuentes, Alejandro; Sayab, Mohammad; Forde, Aidan

The small island of Groix in southern Brittany, France, is well known for exceptionally well-preserved outcrops of Variscan blueschists, eclogites, and garnetiferous mica schists that mark a Late Devonian suture between Gondwana and Armorica. The kinematics of polyphase deformation in these rocks is reconstructed based on 3D microstructural analysis of inclusion trails within garnet and pseudomorphed lawsonite porphyroblasts using differently oriented thin sections and X-ray tomography. Three sets of inclusion trails striking NE–SW, NNW–SSE, and WNW–ESE are recognized and interpreted to witness a succession of different crustal shortening directions orthogonal to these strikes. The curvature sense of sigmoidal and spiral-shaped inclusion trails of the youngest set is shown to be consistent with northwest and northward subduction of Gondwana under Armorica, provided that these microstructures developed by overgrowth of actively forming crenulations without much porphyroblast rotation. Strongly non-cylindrical folds locally found on the island are reinterpreted as fold-interference structures instead of having formed by progressive shearing and fold-axis reorientation. Six samples of a lower-grade footwall unit of the Groix ophiolitic nappe (Pouldu schists) were also studied. Inclusion trails in these rocks strike E–W, similar to the youngest set recognized on Groix island. They record Carboniferous N–S shortening during continental collision. These new microstructural data from southern Brittany bear a strong resemblance to earlier measured in inclusion-trail orientations in the northwestern Iberia Massif. A best fit between both regions suggests not more than about 15inline-formula anticlockwise rotation of Iberia during the Cretaceous opening of the Gulf of Biscay.

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Aerden, Domingo G. A. M. / Ruiz-Fuentes, Alejandro / Sayab, Mohammad / et al: Kinematics of subduction in the Ibero-Armorican arc constrained by 3D microstructural analysis of garnet and pseudomorphed lawsonite porphyroblasts from Île de Groix (Variscan belt). 2021. Copernicus Publications.

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