Detrital cooling ages from the pro-foreland and retro-foreland basins of the European Alps record distinctive exhumation trends that correlate with orogenic wedge states inferred from thrust front propagation rates. Periods of rapid hinterland exhumation correlate with relatively slow propagation of deformation toward the foreland and are interpreted to represent subcritical wedge conditions, whereas periods of slow hinterland exhumation correlate with rapid propagation of deformation toward the foreland and indicate supercritical wedge conditions. Similar lag time trends recorded in both the pro-foreland and retro-foreland thus mimic orogenic wedge behavior and suggest that local tectonics and/or climate events do not overprint the regional signal.

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