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Melanie Keil and Franz Neubauer

Neotectonics, drainage pattern and geomorphology of the orogen-parallel Upper Enns Valley (Eastern Alps)

The geomorphology and neotectonics of the Upper Enns Valley (Austria) in the Eastern Alps reveal the formation of a fault-controlled orogen-parallel valley. In the study area, the Eastern Alps have been under surface uplift since Early Miocene times. Quaternary processes such as uplift and cyclic glaciations likely interfere with neotectonic activity as the Upper Enns Valley follows the Salzach-Enns-Mariazell-Puchberg (SEMP) fault. The geomorphologically different landscapes comprise three main tectonic units: (1) the Austroalpine crystalline basement exposed in the Niedere Tauern, (2) the Austroalpine Paleozoic units (Greywacke Zone) and (3) the Dachstein Plateau dominated by Triassic carbonate successions. The Upper Pleistocene Ramsau Conglomerate overlying the Greywacke Zone on the northern slope of the Upper Enns Valley is a crucial element to reconstruct the evolution of the valley. A new 14C date (uncalibrated) indicates an age older than 53,300 years, outside of the analytical limit of the methods. Provenance analysis of the Ramsau Conglomerate shows the Niedere Tauern as a source region and consequently a post-early Late Pleistocene dissection of the landscape by the Upper Enns Valley. Paleosurfaces at elevations of about 1100 m on the northern and southern slopes of the Upper Enns Valley allow us to estimate surface uplift/incision of about 2.5 mm/yr. Regularly oriented outcrop-scale faults and joints of the Ramsau Conglomerate document Pleistocene to Holocene tectonic deformation, which is consistent with ongoing seismicity. Paleostress tensors deduced from slickensides and striae of pre-Cenozoic basement rocks indicate two stages of Late Cretaceous to Paleogene deformation independent of the SEMP fault; the Oligocene-Neogene evolution comprises NW-SE strike-slip compression followed by E-W compression and Late Pleistocene ca. E-W extension, the latter recorded in the Ramsau Conglomerate.

Open access

Franz Neubauer and Ana-Voica Bojar

Abstract

Single grains of detrital white mica from the lowermost Upper Cretaceous Sinaia Flysch have been dated using the 40Ar/39Ar technique. The Sinaia Flysch was deposited in a trench between the Danubian and Getic microcontinental pieces after the closure of the Severin oceanic tract. The Danubian basement is largely composed of a Panafrican/Cadomian basement in contrast to the Getic/Supragetic units with a Variscan-aged basement, allowing the distinction between these two blocks. Dating of detrital mica from the Sinaia Flysch resulted in predominantly Variscan ages (329 ± 3 and 288 ± 4 Ma), which prove the Getic/Supragetic source of the infill of the Sinaia Trench. Subordinate Late Permian (263 ± 8 and 255 ±10 Ma), Early Jurassic (185 ± 4 and 183 ± 3 Ma) and Late Jurassic/Early Cretaceous (149 ± 3 and 140 ± 3 Ma) ages as well as a single Cretaceous age (98 ± 4 Ma) are interpreted as representing the exposure of likely retrogressive low-grade metamorphic ductile shear zones of various ages. Ductile shear zones with similar 40Ar/39Ar white mica ages are known in the Getic/Supragetic units. The Cretaceous ages also show that Cretaceous metamorphic units were already subject to erosion during the deposition of the Sinaia Flysch.

Open access

Franz Neubauer, Bianca Heberer, István Dunkl, Xiaoming Liu, Manfred Bernroider and Yunpeng Dong

Abstract

In the south-eastern Eastern Alps, the Reifnitz tonalite intruded into the Austroalpine metamorphic basement of the Wörthersee half-window exposed north of the Sarmatian–Pliocene flexural Klagenfurt basin. The Reifnitz tonalite is dated for the first time, and yields a laser ICP-MS U–Pb zircon age of 30.72±0.30 Ma. The (U–Th–Sm)/He apatite age of the tonalite is 27.6 ± 1.8 Ma implying rapid Late Oligocene cooling of the tonalite to ca. 60 °C. The Reifnitz tonalite intruded into a retrogressed amphibolite-grade metamorphic basement with a metamorphic overprint of Cretaceous age (40Ar/39Ar white mica plateau age of 90.7 ± 1.6 Ma). This fact indicates that pervasive Alpine metamorphism of Cretaceous age extends southwards almost up to the Periadriatic fault. Based on the exhumation and erosion history of the Reifnitz tonalite and the hosting Wörthersee half window formed by the Wörthersee anticline, the age of gentle folding of Austroalpine units in the south-eastern part of the Eastern Alps is likely of Oligocene age. North of the Wörthersee antiform, Upper Cretaceous–Eocene, Oligocene and Miocene sedimentary rocks of the Krappfeld basin are preserved in a gentle synform, suggesting that the top of the Krappfeld basin has always been near the Earth’s surface since the Late Cretaceous. The new data imply, therefore, that the Reifnitz tonalite is part of a post-30 Ma antiform, which was likely exhumed, uplifted and eroded in two steps. In the first step, which is dated to ca. 31–27 Ma, rapid cooling to ca. 60 °C and exhumation occurred in an E–W trending antiform, which formed as a result of a regional N–S compression. In the second step of the Sarmatian–Pliocene age a final exhumation occurred in the peripheral bulge in response to the lithospheric flexure in front of the overriding North Karawanken thrust sheet. The Klagenfurt basin developed as a flexural basin at the northern front of the North Karawanken, which represent a transpressive thrust sheet of a positive flower structure related to the final activity along the Periadriatic fault. In the Eastern Alps, on a large scale, the distribution of Periadriatic plutons and volcanics seems to monitor a northward or eastward shift of magmatic activity, with the main phase of intrusions ca. 30 Ma at the fault itself.

Open access

Šoštarić Sibila Borojević, Neubauer Franz, Handler Robert and Palinkaš Ladislav A.

Abstract

Very low-grade and low-grade metamorphosed basement rocks from distinct inliers of the Africa-derived northwestern Dinarides (Medvednica Mts and Paleozoic Sana-Una Unit, respectively) have been studied with the multigrain step-heating 40Ar/39Ar technique in order to compare and reveal their tectonothermal history. 40Ar/39Ar ages from detrital white mica of the very low-grade basement rocks of the Paleozoic Sana-Una Unit gave a Variscan age of ~335 Ma. The new age is in agreement with 40Ar/39Ar ages from the very low-grade basement exposed at Petrova and Trgovska Gora of the NW Dinarides. Within low-grade metamorphic basement rocks from the Medvednica Mts, we found no Variscan ages. White mica from phyllitic basement rocks of the Medvednica Mts gives predominantly early Alpine ages ranging between 135 and 122 Ma and younger Alpine ages of ~80 Ma. The early Alpine ages of 135 and 122 Ma are interpreted as the date to the onset of ductile nappe stacking predating the formation of Gosau-type collapse basins. The late early Alpine event of ~80 Ma can be traced in the entire Cretaceous-aged orogen of the Circum- Pannonian Region and is synchronous with subsidence of the Gosau-type basins and opening and closure of the neighbouring Sava-Vardar Zone.

Open access

Farzaneh Shakerardakani, Franz Neubauer, Manfred Bernroider, Albrecht Von Quadt, Irena Peytcheva, Xiaoming Liu, Johann Genser, Behzad Monfaredi and Fariborz Masoudi

Abstract

In this paper, we present detailed field observations, chronological, geochemical and Sr–Nd isotopic data and discuss the petrogenetic aspects of two types of mafic dykes, of alkaline to subalkaline nature. The alkaline mafic dykes exhibit a cumulate to foliated texture and strike NW–SE, parallel to the main trend of the region. The 40Ar/39Ar amphibole age of 321.32 ± 0.55 Ma from an alkaline mafic dyke is interpreted as an indication of Carboniferous cooling through ca. 550 °C after intrusion of the dyke into the granitic Galeh-Doz orthogneiss and Amphibolite-Metagabbro units, the latter with Early Carboniferous amphibolite facies grade metamorphism and containing the Dare-Hedavand metagabbro with a similar Carboniferous age. The alkaline and subalkaline mafic dykes can be geochemically categorized into those with light REE-enriched patterns [(La/Yb)N = 8.32–9.28] and others with a rather flat REE pattern [(La/Yb)N = 1.16] and with a negative Nb anomaly. Together, the mafic dykes show oceanic island basalt to MORB geochemical signature, respectively. This is consistent, as well, with the (Tb/Yb)PM ratios. The alkaline mafic dykes were formed within an enriched mantle source at depths of ˃ 90 km, generating a suite of alkaline basalts. In comparison, the subalkaline mafic dykes were formed within more depleted mantle source at depths of ˂ 90 km. The subalkaline mafic dyke is characterized by 87Sr/86Sr ratio of 0.706 and positive ɛNd(t) value of + 0.77, whereas 87Sr/86Sr ratio of 0.708 and ɛNd(t) value of + 1.65 of the alkaline mafic dyke, consistent with the derivation from an enriched mantle source. There is no evidence that the mafic dykes were affected by significant crustal contamination during emplacement. Because of the similar age, the generation of magmas of alkaline mafic dykes and of the Dare-Hedavand metagabbro are assumed to reflect the same process of lithospheric or asthenospheric melting. Carboniferous back-arc rifting is the likely geodynamic setting of mafic dyke generation and emplacement. In contrast, the subalkaline mafic sill is likely related to the emplacement of the Jurassic Darijune gabbro.