The age of HP metamorphism in the Gran Paradiso Massif, Western Alps: A petrological and geochronological study of "silvery micaschists"
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We present a petrological and geochronological study of “silvery micaschists” that crop out in the northern side of the Gran Paradiso Massif, Western Alps, with the aim of constraining P–T conditions and age of the Alpine high-pressure metamorphism. The studied “silvery micaschists”, which are the products of metasomatic alteration of granitoids along ductile shear zones, consist of Mg-chlorite, talc, chloritoid, minor phengite, and accessory minerals. Microstructural relationships indicate the following prograde sequence in the growth of U–Th bearing accessory minerals: florencite->monazite->allanite. Thermobarometric calculations indicate that the Mg-chlorite+talc+chloritoid+allanite peak assemblage was stable at P=1.9–2.7 GPa and T=515– 600 °C, while monazite formed earlier at pressures over 2.0 GPa. SHRIMP dating of allanite yielded 33.7±1.6 Ma, interpreted as the age of the high-pressure metamorphic peak. Prograde monazite yielded an age of 37.4 ±0.9 Ma, implying a minimum duration of ~2–4 Ma for the Alpine subduction event. Combining our ages with previous constraints, it can be concluded that the initial exhumation of the Gran Paradiso Massif occurred at a fast rate higher than 2 cm/year, and slowed down to ~1 cm/year in the final stages. In a regional context, the new geochronological data align the subduction of the Gran Paradiso Massif with the other Internal Crystalline Massifs of the Western Alps. This supports a subduction model marked by alternating compressional events, related to the accretion of continental terranes, and extensional events, related to the episodic retreat of subduction zone hinges.
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