Abstract

Ductile deformation in high-pressure (P)-low temperature (T) conditions due to the westward thrusting of oceanic material onto a continental basement in alpine Corsica is overprinted by a late deformation event with a reverse shear sense (eastward) that took place in less severe P-T conditions. We show that the late deformation can be linked to extension during rifting and spreading of the Liguro Provençal basin from late Oligocene to late-middle Miocene time. Major compressive thrust contacts were reactivated as ductile normal faults and, in some units, only a penetrative eastward shear can be observed. This extension following the thickening of the crust brought tectonic units which underwent very different P- T conditions during the earlier stage into close contact. The Balagne nappe, which shows neither significant ductile deformation nor metamorphism, directly overlies the high-P units. The extensional deformation is distributed through the entire thickness of the nappe stack but is more important along the major thrust contacts, which localize the strain. The geometry of the crustal extension is controlled by that of the early compressive thrusts. The latest structures are east-dipping brittle normal faults which bound the early to middle Miocene Saint Florent half graben.

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