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Solid Earth An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 14 Jun 2019

Research article | 14 Jun 2019

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Solid Earth (SE).

Miocene basement exhumation in the Central Alps recorded by detrital garnet geochemistry in foreland basin deposits

Laura Stutenbecker1, Peter M. E. Tollan2, Andrea Madella3, and Pierre Lanari2 Laura Stutenbecker et al.
  • 1Institute of Applied Geosciences, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Schnittspahnstr. 9, 64287 Darmstadt, Germany
  • 2Institute of Geological Sciences, University of Bern, Baltzerstrasse 1+3, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
  • 3Department of Geosciences, University of Tuebingen, Wilhelmstr. 56, 72074 Tübingen, Germany

Abstract. The Neogene evolution of the European Alps was characterized by the exhumation of crystalline basement, the so-called external crystalline massifs. Their exhumation presumably controlled the evolution of relief, distribution of drainage networks and generation of sediment in the Central Alps. However, due to the absence of suitable proxies, the timing of their surficial exposure, and thus the initiation of sediment supply from these areas, are poorly constrained.

The northern alpine foreland basin preserves the Oligocene to Miocene sedimentary record of tectonic and climatic adjustments in the hinterland. This contribution analyses the provenance of 25 to 14 My-old alluvial fan deposits by means of detrital garnet chemistry. Unusually grossular- and spessartine-rich garnets are found to be unique proxies for identifying detritus from the external crystalline massifs. In the foreland basin, these garnets are abundant in 14 My-old deposits, thus providing a minimum age for the surficial exposure of the crystalline basement.

Laura Stutenbecker et al.
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Laura Stutenbecker et al.
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Detrital garnet chemistry from the Molasse basin L. Stutenbecker

Laura Stutenbecker et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The Aar and Mont Blanc regions in the Alps are large granitoid massifs characterized by high topography. We analyse when these granitoids were first exhumed to the surface. We test this by tracking specific garnet grains, which are exclusively found in the granitoid massifs, in the sediments contained in the alpine foreland basin. This research ties in with ongoing debates on the timing and mechanisms of mountain building.
The Aar and Mont Blanc regions in the Alps are large granitoid massifs characterized by high...