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Precise tracing of exhumation and provenance using 40Ar/39Ar geochronology of detrital white mica: the example of the Central Alps

By
H. Von Eynatten
H. Von Eynatten
1
Institut für Geowissenschaften, FSU Jena, Burgweg 11, D-07749 Jena, Germany (e-mail: eynatten@geo.uni-jena.de)
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J. R. Wijbrans
J. R. Wijbrans
2
Faculty of Earth Sciences, De Boelelaan 1085, NL-1081 HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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Published:
January 01, 2003

Abstract

Single-grain 40Ar/39Ar dating of detrital white mica from Oligocene to Miocene (31–13 Ma) sediments of the North Alpine Foreland Basin in Switzerland reveals three prominent age clusters indicating cooling of the source rocks below 350–420°C in Carboniferous, Early Permian, and Tertiary times. Precise calibration of sedimentation age throughout the study area enables the thermal evolution of the hinterland in space and time to be precisely traced. Palaeozoic mica ages are documented in all samples and are used as additonal provenance indicators. Tertiary mica ages are restricted to sediments younger than 21 Ma, and are only found in central and western drainage systems. Tertiary micas document progressively increasing average cooling rates up to 34–41°C/Ma in the source area (Lepontine Dome), between 21 Ma and 14 Ma. The observed cooling rates and the time-span for rapid cooling in the source area (between 19 and 14 Ma) agree with thermal models derived from currently exposed rocks of the Lepontine metamorphic dome. This study proves that detrital mica geochronology is a robust tool for deciphering the thermal histories of ancient orogens which are no longer exposed today.

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Geological Society, London, Special Publications

Tracing Tectonic Deformation Using the Sedimentary Record

T. McCann
T. McCann
Geologisches Institut, Bonn, Germany
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A. Saintot
A. Saintot
Instituut voor Aardwetenschappen, Vrije Universiteit, The Netherlands
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Geological Society of London
Volume
208
ISBN electronic:
9781862394568
Publication date:
January 01, 2003

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