, Volume 88, Issue 2, pp 201-218

Structural analysis of the Subbriançonnais and Valais units in the area of Moûtiers (Savoy, Western Alps): paleogeographic and tectonic consequences

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 Valais and Subbriançonnais units of the Western Alps of Savoie underwent a common structural evolution, postdating peak pressure conditions associated with high-pressure metamorphism of internal parts of the Valais units. The first two phases, due to roughly north/south-directed shortening, are interpreted to be related to a NNE/SSW-striking corridor of sinistral transpression between the internal Western Alps and the European foreland. Both phases led to nappe formation, isoclinal folding and north–south elongation. Only the third phase of deformation is related to WNW-directed orogen-perpendicular shortening, thus far regarded as the predominant thrusting direction in the Western Alps. Late (post 5 Ma) normal faulting, evidenced by fission-track dating, reactivated the Houiller Front in the north and the Penninic Front in the south. Kinematics of movement, observed along the present-day Houiller Front and Penninic Front, change from north to south. In the north the Houiller Front indicates post-D3 normal faulting while the Penninic Front preserved WNW-directed thrusting (D3). In the south the Houiller Front preserves syn-D2 north-directed thrusting, whereas the Penninic Front is partly reactivated by post-D3 normal faulting. Our observations clearly favor tectonic reasons for the disappearance of the Valais units south of Moûtiers in present-day map view.

Received: 29 June 1998 / Accepted: 8 February 1999