Abstract

In the western Alps, to the southeast of the Pelvoux massif (Champsaur-Embrunais-Brianconnais-Queyras transect), the Brianconnais zone consists of the southern tip of the Zone Houillere and small nappes of Mesozoic sediments, emplaced during the Eocene in HP-LT metamorphic conditions. During the Oligocene this tectonic pile was thrusted onto a late Eocene to early Oligocene flexural basin, deformed in low grade metamorphic conditions and belonging to the Ultradauphine zone. This major thrust, called here CBF [Chevauchement Brianconnais Frontal: Tricart 1986] represents the boundary between the external and the internal zones of the western Alps. It contains thin tectonic lenses of Subbrianconnais origin, so that the Brianconnais Front and the Penninic Front almost merge. Late Alpine extension. - We have recently discovered that the CBF was subsequently reactivated as an extensional detachment. This major negative inversion is associated with widespread extension in the internal (Brianconnais and Piemont) zones, resulting in multiscale normal faulting. Current field work in the Queyras area shows that this brittle multitrend extension is a continuation of the ductile extension that accompanied the exhumation of blue-schist bearing metamorphic units. Along the same transect, the external (Ultradauphine) zone was not affected by late-Alpine extension. This is still the present situation: to the east of the aseismic Pelvoux massif, the CBF bounds the Brianconnais seismic arc, the activity of which may be the continuation of the late-Alpine extension. At the scale of the western Alpine arc, active extensional-transtensional tectonics dominate in the internal zones while compressional uplift affects the external zone. In this contrasted stress field, the thrust-fault zone between internal and external arcs plays a major role of decoupling that can be demonstrated in several sites between the area analysed here and the Central Alps, including along the Ecors profile. Contribution of thermochronology. - In this paper, we compare apatite fission track (FT) ages from both sides of the inverted CBF to the southeast of the Pelvoux massif. In the hangingwall of the CBF, two ages were obtained from magmatic intrusions within the Zone houillere, close to Briancon. They are compared to recently published ages from the Champsaur Sandstones unit in the footwall of the CBF, along the same transect.

You do not currently have access to this article.