Timing of formation and exhumation of the montagne noire double dome, french massif central

Françoise Roger, Christian Teyssier, Jean Patrick Respaut, Patrice F. Rey, Marc Jolivet, Donna L. Whitney, Jean Louis Paquette, Maurice Brunel

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New U-Pb monazite, zircon, and xenotime ages date the Late Carboniferous crystallization of the anatectic Vialais granite in the Montagne Noire Axial Zone and the high-temperature deformation and metamorphism of the augen gneiss (Ordovician granite protolith) from which the granite was likely derived. The U-Pb monazite ages obtained from the augen gneiss (308. ±. 3. Ma), late kinematic Vialais granite (303. ±. 4. Ma), and post-kinematic leucogranite (298. ±. 2. Ma), bracket the high-temperature deformation and metamorphism at ~. 310-300. Ma, clearly postdating regional contraction and nappe emplacement (>. 320. Ma). The planar-linear and locally linear fabrics in the augen gneiss outline a regional-scale double dome structure (Caroux and Espinouse sub-domes) containing smaller (km-scale) upright folds. Compared to the Caroux sub-dome, the larger, migmatitic Espinouse sub-dome contains abundant leucosome, leucogranite bodies and late-kinematic intrusions (Vialais granite). The Vialais granite displays a weak magmatic foliation that defines the main layering of the Espinouse migmatite. Ellipsoidal quartz-sillimanite nodules concentrated above the roof of the granite recorded an increment of strain (vertical shortening, E-NE elongation) during granite emplacement and crystallization, consistent with the extension event that exhumed the domes. These new geochronological and structural data suggest that the Montagne Noire double dome formed in a pull-apart structure within a dextral strike-slip system. Upright folding in the sub-domes has been traditionally assigned to a regional contraction event; alternatively, we propose that local contraction is associated with the convergence of low-viscosity crust beneath the upper crust pull-apart. Dynamic models of extension of hot crust indicate that contraction at depth is generated by flow of low-viscosity orogenic crust converging and rising to fill the gap created by upper crust extension. This interpretation solves the long-standing problem of apparent coeval contraction and extension in the Montagne Noire double dome and establishes migmatite dome emplacement in strike-slip corridors as a style of late Variscan tectonics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-69
Number of pages17
StatePublished - Jan 20 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Elsevier B.V.


  • Extensional tectonics
  • Gneiss dome
  • ID-TIMS and LA-ICP-MS U/Pb dating
  • Late carboniferous crustal flow
  • Partial melting
  • Variscan belt


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