Abstract

In this paper we review and discuss, in a synthetic historical way, the main results obtained on Variscan metamorphism in the French Massif Central. First, we describe the pre-orogenic architecture of the French Massif Central on the base of available lithostratigraphic and geochemical constraints. Second, we portray the progressive metamorphic evolution through time and space with the presentation of 6 metamorphic maps corresponding to critical orogenic periods, namely 430–400 Ma, 400–370 Ma, 370–360 Ma, 360–345 Ma, 340–325 Ma and 320–290 Ma. We discuss the role of multiple subductions in orogeny, the metamorphic effects of continental collision (i.e. regional development of intermediate-pressure metamorphic series) as well as the links between post-thickening tectonics and the regional development of low-pressure metamorphic series coeval with crustal partial melting. As it was the case for the western Alps, we emphasize the lack of temporal data on high-pressure/low-temperature metamorphic rocks as well as the uncertainties on the sizes of rock units that have recorded the same metamorphic history (i.e. coherent P-T-t/deformation trajectories). Finally, we underline the main differences and similarities between the metamorphic evolutions of the western Alps and the French Massif Central.

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