Detrital apatite (U-Th)/He and fission-track thermochronometry are applied to constrain the exhumation history of the Ligurian Alps (southwest Alps). Exhumation of the Ligurian Alps is recorded from ca. 11 Ma and continues until present. More than 4 km of exhumation is recorded at an average rate of 0.4 ± 0.2 mm/yr. Exhumation is accommodated along a north-dipping thrust at the foot of the Ligurian margin. Combined (U-Th)/He and fission-track thermal modeling show a phase of accelerated denudation between 7 and 5 Ma, associated with the base-level drop during the Messinian salinity crisis.

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