The fate of the lower plate during continental collision can be examined in deeply eroded orogens such as the late Paleozoic Variscan belt in continental Europe. In particular, the Bohemian Massif at its eastern extremity preserves well the evolution of an Andean-type orogen involved in continental collision. This process included relamination of subducted light felsic material rich in radioactive elements underneath a dense mafic lower crust of the upper plate. This led to gravity-driven overturns and overprinting of the original suture by a broad zone of mixed upper and lower plate materials. In the studied example, this zone of interaction repeatedly reappears within the orogen, forming a so-called “diffuse cryptic suture zone.”

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