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Authors: Solarino, Stefano* 
Malusà, Marco Giovanni* 
Eva, Elena* 
Guillot, Stéphane* 
Paul, Anne* 
Schwartz, Stéphane* 
Zhao, Liang* 
Aubert, Coralie* 
Dumont, Thierry* 
Pondrelli, Silvia* 
Salimbeni, Simone* 
Wang, Qingchen* 
Xu, Xiaobing* 
Zheng, Tianyu* 
Zhu, Rixiang* 
Title: Mantle wedge exhumation beneath the Dora-Maira (U)HP dome unravelled by local earthquake tomography (Western Alps)
Issue Date: 2018
Series/Report no.: /296-299 (2018)
DOI: 10.1016/j.lithos.2017.11.035
Abstract: In continental subduction zones, the behaviour of the mantle wedge during exhumation of (ultra)high-pressure [(U)HP] rocks provides a key to distinguish among competing exhumation mechanisms. However, in spite of the relevant implications for understanding orogenic evolution, a high-resolution image of the mantle wedge beneath the Western Alps is still lacking. In order to fill this gap, we perform a detailed analysis of the velocity structure of the Alpine belt beneath the Dora-Maira (U)HP dome, based on local earthquake tomography independently validated by receiver function analysis. Our results point to a composite structure of the mantle wedge above the subducted European lithosphere. We found that the Dora-Maira (U)HP dome lays directly above partly serpentinized peridotites (Vp ~7.5 km/s; Vp/Vs = 1.70–1.72), documented from ~10 km depth down to the top of the eclogitized lower crust of the European plate. These serpentinized peridotites, possibly formed by fluid release from the subducting European slab to the Alpine mantle wedge, are juxtaposed against dry mantle peridotites of the Adriatic upper plate along an active fault rooted in the lithospheric mantle. We propose that serpentinized mantle-wedge peridotites were exhumed at shallow crustal levels during late Eocene transtensional tectonics, also triggering the rapid exhumation of (U)HP rocks, and were subsequently indented under the Alpine metamorphic wedge in the early Oligocene. Our findings suggest that mantle-wedge exhuma- tion may represent a major feature of the deep structure of exhumed continental subduction zones. The deep orogenic levels here imaged by seismic tomography may be exposed today in older (U)HP belts, where mantle-wedge serpentinites are commonly associated with coesite-bearing continental metamorphic rocks.
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