Abstract

The northern Mirdita ophiolite massifs in Albanian Dinarides formed at a slow-spreading ridge, active during the Jurassic (160–165 Ma). They share a common horizontal Jurassic–Lower Cretaceous sedimentary cover showing that they were not deeply and intrinsically affected by later Alpine thrusting. The western massifs of Mirdita, first oceanic core complex (OCC) and detachment shear zone described in ophiolites, compare with OCCs in slow-spreading ridges and provide continuous exposure of the deep internal structure of this system, revealing its kinematics, thanks to detailed structural mapping in peridotites and gabbros. The Mirdita detachments root in the Moho transition zone (MTZ), a weak zone at the top of asthenospheric mantle, where basaltic melts impregnate dunites. The OCC domes are plagioclase-amphibole–bearing mylonitic peridotites, ∼400 m thick, grading downward within 200 m to harzburgitic mantle. The mylonitic detachments crossed Moho beneath a NNE-SSW–trending ridge. On the western side of OCC domes, the hanging wall of the ridge, crustal gabbros, and basalts are still preserved, despite being deeply affected by hydrothermal alteration. From there, the partially molten MTZ was detached as a shear zone, mixing with lower gabbros. The OCC emerged, migrating upsection and eastward over 5 km. Finally, the OCC front is observed in hornblende-rich syntectonic mylonites derived from upper gabbros and from the overlying former lid. Serpentinization is static within these mylonites. A low-temperature detachment fault is expressed as a sheared antigoritic mélange at the margin of the mylonitic shear zone. Asthenospheric flow in the harzburgitic mantle beneath the ridge of origin has been preserved below the OCC rooting. The dominant asthenospheric flow direction trends parallel to the ridge axis. This mantle flow rotates over 200 m into the low-temperature mylonitic detachments, where OCC motion turns transversal to the ridge. Crystal preferred orientation measurements on six samples point to brown hornblende crystal growth during mylonitic flow and illustrate the change of olivine intra-crystalline slip system in mylonites compared to porphyroclastic harzburgite.

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