International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 92, Issue 3, pp 348–363 | Cite as

Recognition and implication of tectonic loading-induced reheating in the northern Variscan front (Belgium and northern France), based on an illite Kübler index and oxygen isotope study

  • G. Han
  • J. Yans
  • M. Goudalier
  • F. Lacquement
  • R. M. Corfield
  • J. L. Mansy
  • F. Boulvain
  • A. PréatEmail author
Original Paper


Illite Kübler index (KI) and oxygen isotope (brachiopods and micrites) investigations have been performed on more than 300 Frasnian limestones sampled in one borehole and numerous outcrops in the Dinant Synclinorium (Belgium, northern France) of the northern Variscan front. The illite Kübler index and δ18O data of a 3-km-thick, tectonically repeated Frasnian series from the Focant borehole are compared with their surrounding surface correspondents and document in-situ reheating induced by Variscan tectonic loading, which post-dated sedimentary burial alteration. The boundary between these two thermal processes (sedimentary burial and tectonic loading) on the Focant profile corresponds to an important location where the heat induced by the tectonic loading was equivalent to that Frasnian strata suffered during maximum sedimentary burial. Mainly based on this knowledge and on a former conodont colour alteration index study, the thickness of the eroded thrust sheet in the Focant area is estimated to be around 3,000 m. Oxygen isotopic exchange in these Frasnian closed carbonate systems, occurring under highest-grade diagenesis and anchimetamorphism, records two events. Brachiopods present a quite different and more homogeneous pattern, due to their higher resistance to heat alteration. These thermal events caused both δ18O records to become increasingly lighter than the presumed original seawater signature. The comparison between KI and δ18O profiles indicates that illite KI analysis is more appropriate than δ18O in highlighting the temperature variations in the burial metamorphism at the periphery of orogenic belts.


Focant borehole Frasnian carbonates Illite Kübler index Oxygen isotopes Sedimentary burial Tectonic loading 



Grateful acknowledgement is expressed to Prof. H. Chamley (Université de Lille) for his support and encouragement in the process of forming the main opinions appearing in this paper. Thanks are presented to Prof. J.F. Deconinck (Université de Rennes) for helpful discussion on clay minerals, to Mr. D. Malengros, and Ph. Recourt (University of Lille) for X-ray diffractometry analysis. We also thank the reviewers Drs. R.O. Greiling, L.N. Warr and V. Wrede (Ruprecht Karls University), and an anonymous reviewer for constructive comments. Thanks are due to Dr. M. Coen-Aubert, Dr. J. Godefroid and Prof. P. Bultynck (Institut royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique), Dr. M. Bertrand (Université de Bruxelles) and Dr. X. Devleeschouwer (Service géologique de Belgique) for help during sampling and collecting data, Mrs. J.E. Cartlidge (University of Oxford) for the mass spectrometry measurements, and Mr. G. Bernardinis (Université de Bruxelles) for the preparation of thin sections. The investigations were in part supported by the Wiener-Anspach Foundation, the British Council Funds, and by the Communauté française de Belgique (Tournesol project n°02/046).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Han
    • 1
  • J. Yans
    • 2
  • M. Goudalier
    • 3
  • F. Lacquement
    • 4
  • R. M. Corfield
    • 5
  • J. L. Mansy
    • 3
  • F. Boulvain
    • 6
  • A. Préat
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Geological Survey of BelgiumRoyal Belgian Institute of National ScienceBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Service de Géologie Fondamentale et AppliquéeFaculté Polytechnique de MonsMonsBelgium
  3. 3.Sédimentologie et Géodynamique, UMR 8577 CNRSUniversité de Lille 1Villeneuve d'AscqFrance
  4. 4.Bureau des Ressources Géol. et Min.OrléansFrance
  5. 5.Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  6. 6.Géologie-Pétrologie-GéochimieUniversité de LiègeSart-Tilman, LiègeBelgium
  7. 7.Département des Sciences de la Terre et de l'EnvironnementUniversité Libre de BruxellesBrusselsBelgium

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