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We investigate the structural, petrological and compositional features recorded by strongly deformed and melt-percolated Erro–Tobbio peridotites (Voltri Massif, Ligurian Alps, NW Italy), in order to demonstrate that the processes of shear-zone formation and melt percolation are intimately linked by a positive feedback. We focus on spinel and plagioclase peridotites, and extensional shear zones that underwent infiltration by upwelling asthenospheric melts. Shear and porosity bands, which developed during extension prior to melt infiltration, represent important structural and rheological pathways to facilitate and enhance melt infiltration into the extending lithosphere and the ascent of such melts to shallower levels.

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