International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 99, Issue 2, pp 327–341 | Cite as

Exhumation processes during post-collisional stage in the Variscan belt revealed by detailed 40Ar/39Ar study (Tanneron Massif, SE France)

  • Michel CorsiniEmail author
  • V. Bosse
  • G. Féraud
  • A. Demoux
  • G. Crevola
Original Paper


Detailed 40Ar/39Ar geochronology on single grains of muscovite was performed in the Variscan Tanneron Massif (SE France) to determine the precise timing of the post-collisional exhumation processes. Thirty-two plateau ages, obtained on metamorphic and magmatic rocks sampled along an east–west transect through the massif, vary from 302 ± 2 to 321 ± 2 Ma, and reveal a heterogeneous exhumation of the lower crust that lasted about 20 Ma during late Carboniferous. In the eastern part of the massif, the closure of the K–Ar isotopic system is at 311–315 Ma, whereas in the middle part of the massif it closes earlier at 317–321 Ma. These cooling paths are likely to be the result of differential exhumation processes of distinct crustal blocks controlled by a major ductile fault, the La Moure fault that separates both domains. In the western part of the massif, the ages decrease from 318 to 303 Ma approaching the Rouet granite, which provides the youngest age at 303.6 ± 1.2 Ma. This age distribution can be explained by the occurrence of a thermal structure spatially associated to the magmatic complex. These ages argue in favour of a cooling of the magmatic body at around 15 Ma after the country rocks in the western Tanneron. The emplacement of the Rouet granite in the core of an antiform is responsible for recrystallization and post-isotopic closure disturbances of the K–Ar chronometer in the muscovite from the host rocks. These new 40Ar/39Ar ages clearly outline that at least two different processes may contribute to the exhumation of the lower crust in the later stage of collision. During the first stage between 320 and 310 Ma, the differential motion of tectonic blocks limited by ductile shear zones controls the post-collisional exhumation. This event could be related to orogen parallel shearing associated with crustal-scale strike-slip faults and regional folding. The final exhumation stages at around 300 Ma take place within the tectonic doming associated to magmatic intrusions in the core of antiformal structures. Local ductile to brittle normal faulting is coeval to Upper Carboniferous intracontinental basins opening.


Variscan 40Ar/39Ar Thermal doming Exhumation Tanneron Massif 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michel Corsini
    • 1
    Email author
  • V. Bosse
    • 2
  • G. Féraud
    • 1
  • A. Demoux
    • 3
  • G. Crevola
    • 4
  1. 1.Géosciences Azur (UMR-CNRS 6526)Nice-Sophia Antipolis UniversityNice CedexFrance
  2. 2.Laboratoire Magmas Volcans (UMR-CNRS 6524)Blaise Pascal UniversityClermont-FerrandFrance
  3. 3.Institut für Geowissenschaften Mainz UniversityMainzGermany
  4. 4.Institut EGIDBordeaux III UniversityPessacFrance

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