Abstract

Tomographic images of the mantle below the Hercynian belt of Brittany display strong anomalies of P-wave traveltimes that likely represent variations in composition, and whose trends change above and below 130 km. A quantitative strain analysis of surface geological structures has shown that the crust in the area was affected by regional-scale distributed simple shear. The change of trends of tomographic anomalies below and above 130 km is largely removed by extending the simple shear model down to 130 km. From this, we infer lithospheric-scale wrenching, and therefore deep-seated horizontal decoupling, possibly at the lithosphere-asthenosphere boundary. Simple shear restoration further provides arguments for the occurrence of a steeply dipping slab. Geological data support its interpretation as a remnant of oceanic lithosphere subducted prior to the Hercynian collision. Beyond regional implications, the study underlines the interest of combining geology and tomography for the understanding of lithosphere deformation.

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