Abstract

The tectonothermal evolution of a polyorogenic terrane in the Variscan belt of NW Spain has been constrained by 40Ar/39Ar laserprobe incremental heating experiments on mylonitic fabrics developed in major structures. Transitional levels between HP–HT and IP upper units in the Órdenes Complex where metamorphic and structural records demonstrate two cycles of burial and exhumation were selected for dating. Two groups of ages have been defined: (1) Silurian–Early Devonian, obtained from mylonites of the Fornás extensional detachment, here considered as the minimum age for the start of tectonic exhumation of the HP–HT units and an upper age-limit for the HP–HT event itself; (2) Early to Mid-Devonian, from structures related to the Variscan convergence in the area, which include top-to-the-east thrusts and extensional detachments. A single, younger Carboniferous age obtained from the uppermost allochthonous sequences possibly reflects the final stages of emplacement of the allochthonous complexes. Our data indicate a polyorogenic character for a part of the Iberian allochthonous complexes, including Variscan (sensu stricto) and Early Variscan convergence, as well as an older, Early Palaeozoic cycle.

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