Lamprophyre dykes have been recently discovered in blocks of gneiss embedded in a calcschist formation of wildflysch type that forms the top of the Mesozoic-Tertiary metasedimentary cover of the Antigorio nappe (the Teggiolo zone) in the Val Bavona (Lower Penninic, NW Ticino, Switzerland). The presence of the lamprophyres gives a clue to the possible source of these blocks. Similar dykes occur in the N part of the Maggia nappe where they are intruded into the Matorello granite and the surrounding gneisses.

We studied these lamprophyres at two localities in the Teggiolo zone (Tamierpass and Lago del Zött) and at one locality in the Maggia nappe (Laghetti). Detailed mineralogical and geochemical investigations confirm their great similarity, particularly between the Tamier and Laghetti dykes. They all recrystallized during Alpine metamorphism under amphibolite facies conditions and lost their primary mineral assemblages and textures. The chemistry reveals a calc-alkaline affinity, a limited differentiation range, features of mineral accumulation and intense remobilization in some cases. The lamprophyres are characterized by a high mg# and relatively low contents in REE and other incompatible elements. In situ SHRIMP and LA-ICPMS U-Pb zircon dating yielded ages of 284.8 ± 1.7 Ma (Tamier), 290.0 ± 1.3 Ma (Zött) and 290.5 ± 3.7 Ma (Laghetti). These ages are compatible with the general late- to post-Variscan magmatic evolution of the Helvetic and Lower Penninic domains. The lamprophyres are considered as melts derived from the lithospheric Variscan mantle, variously hybridized and differentiated at the contact with crustal material during late- to post-orogenic extension. These lamprophyres are chemically distinct from earlier lamprophyres of Visean age, emplaced together with their associated granites in transcurrent fault zones during the Variscan orogenic compression.

The similarity of these different dykes suggests that the front of the Maggia nappe is a likely source of the gneissic blocks embedded in the calcschists at the top of the Teggiolo zone. They would have been provided by the advancing Maggia nappe during its thrusting over the Antigorio nappe and simultaneous closure of the Teggiolo sedimentary basin.

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