Detailed geological mapping of the La Cerdanya area (Canigó unit, Eastern Pyrenees) provides new data characterizing the different structural styles exhibited by Cambrian-Lower Ordovician (Jujols Group) and Upper Ordovician successions. Their unconformable contact, related to the Sardic Phase, ranges from 0° (paraconformity) to 90° (angular discordance). The Jujols Group rocks topped by the unconformity are affected by Sardic foliation-free open folds. The pre–Sardic succession, the Sardic Unconformity and the lower part of the post–Sardic succession (Rabassa Conglomerate and Cava formations) are cut and offset by several Late Ordovician NNE-SSW-trending synsedimentary extensional faults associated with hydrothermal activity, which dramatically affected the thickness of the lower part of the Upper Ordovician succession. We relate (i) the Mid–Ordovician Sardic uplift and erosion, and (ii) a Mid–Late Ordovician upward propagating extensional fault system bounding the outline of half-grabens, subsequently infilled by alluvial deposits, to a thermal doming event (about 475–450 Ma) that led to the uplift and stretching of the Ordovician lithosphere. Thermal doming may be caused by mafic magma underplating and responsible for the coeval calc-alkaline magmatic activity broadly developed in the Eastern Pyrenees. We discuss the similarities between the Mid–Ordovician Sardic Unconformity and other Early Palaeozoic unconformities described in neighbouring areas. Finally, we suggest a geodynamic scenario in which a regional-scale thermal event was related to the opening of the Rheic Ocean that led to the drift of Avalonia from the SW-European margin of Gondwana.

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