Provenance analysis of the Voirons Flysch (Gurnigel nappe, Haute-Savoie, France): stratigraphic and palaeogeographic implications

Abstract

The Chablais Prealps (Haute-Savoie, France) represent a well-preserved accretionary wedge of the Western Alpine Tethys. They comprise a stack of sedimentary nappes related to palaeogeographic realms ranging from the Ultrahelvetic to the Southern Penninic. The provenance analysis is based on the Gazzi-Dickinson method and on QEMSCAN® for heavy-minerals. The Quartzose petrofacies is the most important of the two sources, and supplied three of the four formations of the Voirons Flysch. It is similar to the sources that fed the other flyschs from the Gurnigel nappe. It is characterised by a mature, quartz-rich assemblage and a heavy-mineral population dominated by apatite and the zircon–tourmaline–rutile mineral group. These observations suggest a Clastic wedge provenance. The Feldspathic petrofacies is derived from a feldspar-rich source associated with metamorphic clasts and a heavy-mineral population dominated by garnet. This provenance characterises only one formation of the Voirons Flysch, and is related to the axial belt provenance. This provenance analysis shows that the Middle Eocene to Early Oligocene Voirons Flysch was fed by two sources, in contrast to the other flyschs of the Gurnigel nappe, and further suggests that this flysch was not deposited in the Piemont Ocean but in the Valais domain. Based on the results and comparative provenance analysis with the other flyschs of the Gurnigel nappe, we propose a generic feeding model which involves the Sesia–Dent Blanche nappe, the sedimentary nappes incorporated in the accretionary prism, and probably the Briançonnais basement.

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Acknowledgements

We thank François Gischig (University of Geneva) for technical help with thin sections and Dr. Mario Sartori (University of Geneva) for fruitful conversations. We are grateful to Franz Neubauer and an anonymous reviewer for constructive comments on an earlier manuscript.

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Ragusa, J., Kindler, P., Segvic, B. et al. Provenance analysis of the Voirons Flysch (Gurnigel nappe, Haute-Savoie, France): stratigraphic and palaeogeographic implications. Int J Earth Sci (Geol Rundsch) 106, 2619–2651 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00531-017-1474-9

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Keywords

  • Gurnigel nappe
  • Chablais Prealps
  • Voirons Flysch
  • Provenance
  • QEMSCAN
  • Heavy-mineral
  • Valais domain