Abstract

Geochemical (major, trace and rare earth elements) and isotopic ( 143 Nd/ 144 Nd) compositions of lavas emplaced in the Esterel Massif (eastern Provence, France) at the end of the Permian allow to estimate the evolution of the continental lithosphere between the end of the Hercynian orogenesis and the beginning of the Tethyan rifting. Basalts from Agay basin and trachyte from Batterie des Lions belong to a transitional tholeiitic suite, characterized by negative Nb and Ta anomalies (relative to N-MORB) and homogeneous epsilon Nd (sub (T = 250 Ma)) ratios, close to the Bulk Earth. This suggests that the basalts from Agay basin and trachyte from Batterie des Lions derived from the partial melting of a mantle contaminated by lower continental crust. Maure Vieille trachytes differ from the differentiated rocks of the transitional suite by higher heavy rare earth abundances and epsilon Nd (sub (T = 250 Ma)) of +4/+5. These high epsilon Nd ratios suggest that the Maure Vieille trachytes could derive from the partial melting of a more depleted source, likely an asthenospheric mantle. The isotopic compositions of the Permian lavas from Esterel suggest the thinning (and perhaps the disappearance) of the lithospheric mantle which is associated at the surface with a NNW-SSE extension. The progressive change recorded in Agay basin from a stretching regime to a strike-slip regime may be related to the end of the lithospheric thinning and of the Permian magmatism.

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