The Alpine–Apennine ophiolites are lithospheric remnants of the Jurassic Alpine Tethys Ocean. They predominantly consist of exhumed mantle peridotites with lesser gabbroic and basaltic crust and are locally associated with continental crustal material, indicating formation in an environment transitional from an ultra-slow-spreading seafloor to a hyperextended passive margin. These ophiolites represent a unique window into mantle dynamics and crustal accretion in an ultra-slow-spreading extensional environment. Old, pre-Alpine, lithosphere is locally preserved within the mantle sequences: these have been largely modified by reaction with migrating asthenospheric melts. These reactions were active in both the mantle and the crust and have played a key role in creating the heterogeneous oceanic lithosphere in this branch of the Mesozoic Western Tethys.

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