Recently discovered Albian submarine diatremes sample tectonites from the Basque-Cantabrian Basin concealed basement. Garnet-sillimanite gneiss xenoliths provide petrologic, petrofabric, and radiometric evidence on a so-far unidentified early Permian (ca. 280–275 Ma) high-grade regional metamorphism. It is interpreted as a syntectonic event recorded at middle to lower crustal settings and related to the Variscan orogeny. This metamorphism is 25–30 m.y. younger than the Variscan high-grade regional metamorphism preserved in the axial zone of the Pyrenees and 15–30 m.y. younger than low-pressure plutonometamorphism documented in the core of the Ibero-Armorican arc. By contrast, it is 15–20 m.y. older than Variscan regional and contact metamorphism unraveled in basement outcrops around the Basque-Cantabrian Basin; it can be thoroughly discriminated from Proterozoic high-grade metamorphism preserved in lower crustal segments of the submerged north Iberian continental margin, and from low-pressure metamorphism related to mid-Cretaceous hyperextension predating the Alpine orogeny. The early Permian metamorphism reveals protracted and diachronic Variscan tectonomagmatic activity in the core of the Ibero-Armorican arc due to orocline buckling processes triggering lithosphere delamination, asthenosphere upwelling, and eventually heat and mass transfer through the continental crust.

You do not currently have access to this article.