The Late Cretaceous sedimentary melanges from the External Liguride Units of the Northern Apennines include large slide-blocks of ophiolites and lower and upper continental crust rocks representative of a continent-ocean transition between the Internal Liguride oceanic domain and the thinned continental margin of Adria plate. The slide-blocks preserve a record of the long-lived history of rifting which led to opening of the Jurassic Western Tethys Basin. The External Liguride ophiolites consist of (i) undepleted spinel-peridotites, partly re-equilibrated under plagioclase-facies conditions, which were interpreted as unroofed subcontinental mantle; (ii) rare gabbroic rocks (mainly troctolite to olivine-bearing gabbro) probably crystallised from N-MORB magmas; (iii) basalts with N- to T-MORB affinity covered by late Callovian-early Oxfordian radiolarian cherts. Both gabbroic rocks and basalts locally intrude the mantle peridotites and postdate their re-equilibration to plagioclase-facies conditions. The slide-blocks of lower continental crust are composed of gabbro-derived mafic granulites and felsic granulites. The latter include quartzo-feldspathic granulites and rare quartz-poor to quartz-free charnockitic rocks. In both mafic and felsic granulites, granulite-facies re-equilibration was followed by a retrograde metamorphic evolution to amphibolite-, greenschist- and subgreenschist-facies conditions. Retrogression is commonly accompanied by deformations progressively changing from plastic to brittle. The upper crustal rocks occurring as slide-blocks consist of Hercynian granitoids with orogenic affinity, mainly biotite-bearing granodiorites and peraluminous two-mica leucogranites. Locally, the granitoids intruded by basaltic dykes or capped by basaltic flows and radiolarian cherts. The granitoids underwent polyphase brittle deformations under subgreenschist-facies conditions which predated the basalt emplacement. The tectono-metamorphic evolution recorded by the slide-blocks of the External Liguride Units started in the Late Carboniferous-Early Permian (about 290 Ma), with the emplacement at deep crustal levels of the gabbroic protoliths for the mafic granulites. The associated felsic granulites likely represent the remnants of the lower continental crust intruded by the gabbro-derived granulites. Mafic and felsic granulites subsequently underwent tectonic exhumation in Permo-Triassic times, as testified by the development of granulite- to amphibolite-facies ductile shear zones. The granulites were finally exhumed to shallow levels, probably in association with the subcontinental mantle, in late Triassic-middle Jurassic times. The latter period was most likely characterized by extensive brittle faulting at shallow crustal levels, thus giving rise to extensional allochtons formed by stretched slices of granitoids. The Western Tethys opening is finally testified by the basalt intrusion and effusion in the Late Jurassic, followed by deep-sea pelagic sedimentation. The External Liguride crustal stratigraphy can be regarded as a fossil example of the transitional realm at the continent-ocean boundary. This reconstruction fits well with the available data on the present-day continental margins derived from passive lithosphere stretching.
|Autori:||MARRONI M; MOLLI G.; MONTANINI A.; TRIBUZIO R.|
|Titolo:||The association of continental crust rocks with ophiolites (northern Apennines, Italy): implications for the continent-ocean transition|
|Anno del prodotto:||1998|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|