ABSTRACT

Tectonic forces generated during thrust emplacement along active margins may drive complex fluid-flow patterns in fold-thrust belts and foreland basins. Isotope data (δ2H and δ18O) of fluid inclusions hosted in calcite vein cements are used to reconstruct regional fluid migration pathways in the Albanide fold-thrust system. The calcite veins used in this study developed in a sequence of naturally fractured Cretaceous–Eocene carbonate rocks as a result of episodic throughput of fluids from the early stages of burial onward. The acquired fluid inclusion isotope data demonstrate that fluids circulating in the carbonates were derived from an underlying reservoir that consisted of a mixture of meteoric water and evolved marine fluids, probably derived from deep-seated evaporites. The meteoric fluids infiltrated in the hinterland before being driven outward into the foreland basin and ascended as soon as fracturing induced a sufficient increase in permeability. Structural and petrographic observations provide time constraints for the various phases of fracture infilling and reveal an increasing dominance of meteoric water in the system through time as migration pathways shortened and marine formation fluids were progressively flushed out. Similar fluid-flow evolutions have previously been recorded in various fold-thrust belt settings elsewhere in the world.

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