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Reconstruction of early orogen dynamics : geo-thermochronological evidence of the rift-to-collision transition in the eastern Pyrénées (France)

Abstract : Collisional orogens are classically described as the result of continental accretion of proximal margins. This accretion leads to the creation of relief and to the important export of erosion products in the directly adjacent foreland basins. In this geodynamic scheme, only the least deformed pre-orogenic domains are considered. However, a growing number of geological field evidences indicate the preservation or even the reuse of structures inherited from the rifting phase preceding convergence and collision within orogens. By conducting a geo-thermochronometric study of the easternmost, inverted hyperextended Aptian-Cenomanian rift system (Agly massif, North Pyrenean Zone) and the adjacent early retroforeland (Rennes-les-Bains syncline, Aquitaine Basin), this thesis aims to describe the evolution of a distal rifted margin during the first stages of convergence, to quantify the associated source-to-sink processes and to provide temporal and paleogeographic constraints regarding the creation of the very first Pyrenean reliefs resulting from inversion of the margin. Using the zircon and apatite (U-Th)/He multi-thermochronometers, I show that the Pyrenean retro-wedge records two clear phases of orogenic cooling, Late Campanian-Maastrichtian and Ypresian-Bartonian, which I relate to early inversion of the distal rifted margin and main collision, respectively. I have thus been able to propose a crustal-scale sequentially restored model for the tectonic and thermal transition from extension to peak orogenesis in the eastern Pyrenees, which suggests that both thrusting and underplating processes contributed to early inversion of the Aptian-Cenomanian rift system. The absence of Paleocene cooling record indicates little to no erosion of the Pyrenean retro-wedge, suggesting the existence of a more easterly source area supplying early retroforeland sediments at this time. To characterize this eastern edifice, which has since been destroyed by the Oligocene-Miocene opening of the Gulf of Lion, I used in situ (U-Th)/He - U/Pb double dating on detrital zircons and show rapid denudation rates during early convergence, characteristic of early topographic growth. This work shows for the first time clearly the progressive migration of deformation from east to west by inversion of inherited structures at the beginning of Pyrenean convergence. This suggests the existence of an open domain in the east at the end of the rifting phase preceding convergence. This study highlights the role of the architecture of hyper-thinned systems in the formation of collisional orogens and confirms the close links between an orogen and its foreland basins.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, November 6, 2019 - 3:06:06 PM
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Sébastien Ternois. Reconstruction of early orogen dynamics : geo-thermochronological evidence of the rift-to-collision transition in the eastern Pyrénées (France). Earth Sciences. Université de Lorraine, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019LORR0086⟩. ⟨tel-02351710⟩



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