, Volume 101, Issue 5, pp 1315-1329
Date: 25 Sep 2011

Late Cretaceous extension overprinting a steep belt in the Northern Calcareous Alps (Schesaplana, Rätikon, Switzerland and Austria)

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The Triassic to Cretaceous sediment succession of the Lechtal Nappe in the western part of the Northern Calcareous Alps (NCA) has been deformed into large-scale folds and crosscut by thrust and extensional faults during Late Cretaceous (Eoalpine) and Tertiary orogenic processes. The following sequence of deformation is developed from overprinting relations in the field: (D1) NW-vergent folds related to thrusting; (D2) N–S shortening leading to east–west-trending folds and to the formation of a steep belt (Arlberg Steep Zone) along the southern border of the NCA; (D3) E–W to NE–SW extension and vertical shortening, leading to low-angle normal faulting and recumbent “collapse folds” like the Wildberg Syncline. D1 and D2 are Cretaceous in age and predate the Eocene emplacement of the Austroalpine on the Penninic Nappes along the Austroalpine basal thrust; the same is probably true for D3. Finally, the basal thrust was deformed by folds related to out-of-sequence thrusting. These results suggest that the NCA were at least partly in a state of extension during the sedimentation of the Gosau Group in the Late Cretaceous.