The tectonic and magmatic characteristics of the Alps and Pyrenees during convergence are quite distinct from characteristics associated with classic Benioff-type oceanic subduction. From the initiation of subduction at passive margins until the onset of continental collision, the closure of the Western Tethys never produced a long-lived magmatic arc. This is a consequence of the 3-D architecture of the Western Tethys (a series of hyper-thinned basins and continental blocks) and its narrow width (<500–700 km) prior to convergence. Subduction primarily involved the slow and amagmatic subduction of a narrow domain of dry lithospheric mantle. This type of congested Ampferer subduction led to the sequential and coherent accretion of inherited rifted domains which today form the Alpine and Pyrenean orogens.

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