International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 100, Issue 8, pp 1827–1850 | Cite as

The Northern Giudicarie and the Meran-Mauls fault (Alps, Northern Italy) in the light of new paleomagnetic and geochronological data from boudinaged Eo-/Oligocene tonalites

  • Hannah Pomella
  • Urs Klötzli
  • Robert Scholger
  • Michael Stipp
  • Bernhard Fügenschuh
Original Paper


This study concentrates on small intrusions along two important faults of the Giudicarie fault system, the Northern Giudicarie and the Meran-Mauls fault, summarised under the term tonalitic lamellae. Magnetic fabric analyses in combination with structural field data indicate dextral strike slip deformation along the NE–SW striking northern part of the Giudicarie fault system, the Meran-Mauls fault, overprinted by younger thrusting. The regional stressfield was oriented approximately NNW–SSE during Tertiary times. The distinctive change in deformation along the Meran-Mauls fault from dextral strike slip to top-SE thrusting may be caused by a rotation or bending of the fault after the intrusion of the tonalites and the formation of their horizontal magnetic foliation. Based on the assumption of a preliminary straight Periadriatic lineament bent by the NNW-wards advancement of the Southalpine indenter, the tonalitic lamellae may be interpreted as lenses sheared off from the Adamello batholith during indentation. New U/Pb data on zircon show that some of the lamellae are of Oligocene (Rupelian), others of Late Eocene (Priabonian) age. An amphibole-gabbro lens occurring on the Meran-Mauls fault provides a Middle Eocene (Bartonian) age. Among the major Periadriatic plutons, only the southern units of the Adamello batholith also intruded in the Eocene that suggests a strong correlation between the tonalitic lamellae and the Adamello batholith. The analyses of the remanent magnetisation and the Curie point determinations argue for magnetite as the main carrier of a viscous magnetisation blocked at relatively low temperatures. This indicates slow cooling of the investigated intrusions along the Giudicarie fault system down to approximately 300°C, which is in contrast to the fast cooling determined for the Adamello intrusion units currently at the surface. The new zircon fission track data also show later cooling of the tonalites along the Giudicarie fault system when compared with the Adamello batholith in the south and the Mauls lamellae in the north, indicating that this area contains magmatic bodies exhumed from a deeper structural level than in the Adamello and the Mauls region. This may be due to important top-SE thrusting and transpressive faulting in the footwall of the Northern Giudicarie fault and the Meran-Mauls fault.


Periadriatic intrusions Giudicarie fault system Fission track dating U/Pb laser ablation ICP-MS Anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility 



We would like to thank S. Martin, W. Frisch and an anonymous topic editor for their thorough reviews and suggestions that helped to improve the manuscript considerably. Dr. Tessadri and Mag. Tribus from the Institute of Mineralogy and Petrology of the University of Innsbruck are thanked for carrying out XRF analyses and microprobe imaging, respectively, as well as is Dr. Rodnight from the Institute of Geology and Paleontology for English corrections. This research was supported by a DOC-fFORTE-fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences received by Hannah Pomella and further funded by the Tyrolean Science Fund, the South Tyrolean Sparkasse Foundation and the funding programme “Aktion D. Swarovski” of the University of Innsbruck.


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© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hannah Pomella
    • 1
  • Urs Klötzli
    • 2
  • Robert Scholger
    • 3
  • Michael Stipp
    • 4
  • Bernhard Fügenschuh
    • 5
  1. 1.DOC-fFORTE-fellowship of the Austrian Academy of Sciences at the Institute of Geology and PaleontologyUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria
  2. 2.Department of Lithospheric ResearchUniversity of ViennaViennaAustria
  3. 3.Paleomagnetic Laboratory Gams, Chair of GeophysicsUniversity of LeobenFrohnleitenAustria
  4. 4.Leibniz-Institute of Marine SciencesKielGermany
  5. 5.Institute of Geology and PaleontologyUniversity of InnsbruckInnsbruckAustria

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