Article: article from journal or magazin.
Rift-related inheritance in orogens: a case study from the Austroalpine nappes in Central Alps (SE-Switzerland and N-Italy)
International Journal of Earth Sciences
The Austroalpine nappe systems in SE-Switzerland and N-Italy preserve remnants of the Adriatic rifted margin. Based on new maps and cross-sections, we suggest that the complex structure of the Campo, Grosina/Languard, and Bernina nappes is inherited largely from Jurassic rifting. We propose a classification of the Austroalpine domain into Upper, Middle and Lower Austroalpine nappes that is new because it is based primarily on the rift-related Jurassic structure and paleogeography of these nappes. Based on the Alpine structures and pre-Alpine, rift-related geometry of the Lower (Bernina) and Middle (Campo, Grosina/Languard) Austroalpine nappes, we restore these nappes to their original positions along the former margin, as a means of understanding the formation and emplacement of the nappes during initial reactivation of the Alpine Tethyan margin. The Campo and Grosina/Languard nappes can be interpreted as remnants of a former necking zone that comprised pre-rift upper and middle crust. These nappes were juxtaposed with the Mesozoic cover of the Bernina nappe during Jurassic rifting. We find evidence for low-angle detachment faults and extensional allochthons in the Bernina nappe similar to those previously described in the Err nappe and explain their role during subsequent reactivation. Our observations reveal a strong control of rift-related structures during the subsequent Alpine reactivation on all scales of the former distal margin. Two zones of intense deformation, referred to as the Albula-Zebru and Lunghin-Mortirolo movement zones, have been reactivated during Alpine deformation and cannot be described as simple monophase faults or shear zones. We propose a tectonic model for the Austroalpine nappe systems that link inherited, rift-related structures with present-day Alpine structures. In conclusion, we believe that apart from the direct regional implications, the results of this paper are of general interest in understanding the control of rift structures during reactivation of distal-rifted margins.
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