Cretaceous to Miocene cooling of Austroalpine units southeast of the Tauern Window (Eastern Alps) constrained by multi-system thermochronometry
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The cooling history of the Polinik and Kreuzeck Blocks of the Austroalpine units to the southeast of the Tauern Window are reexamined in the light of new mica Ar/Ar-, zircon fission track and apatite fission track data. Our new data demonstrate that the two blocks experienced a significantly different thermal evolution during Mesozoic-Cenozoic times: The Polinik Block revealed Late Cretaceous Ar/Ar ages (87.2–81.6 Ma), which reflect cooling subsequent to the thermal peak of Eo-Alpine metamorphism. The Kreuzeck Block, in contrast, shows early Permian Ar/Ar ages (295–288 Ma) that reflect post-Variscan extension and cooling. Late Cretaceous zircon fission track ages (67.8 and 67.3 Ma) found in the Kreuzeck Block are interpreted to reflect post-metamorphic exhumational cooling after the Eo-Alpine metamorphism. Miocene apatite fission track ages (21.3–8.7 Ma) and transdimensional inverse thermal history modelling results suggest that the Polinik Block cooled rapidly through the apatite partial annealing zone and exhumed to near surface temperatures in the middle Miocene. The Kreuzeck Block, in contrast, cooled and exhumed to near surface temperatures already in the Oligocene and early Miocene as evidenced by apatite fission track ages (29.1–16.4 Ma) and thermal history modelling results. Based on the temperature difference between the uppermost and lowermost samples from steep elevation profiles, calculated paleo-geothermal gradients are in the range between 47 and 43 °C/km for the late Oligocene and middle Miocene periods. These high values likely resulted from an elevated heat flow associated with magmatism in the area and from the fast exhumation of hot Penninic domains during Oligocene and Miocene times.
Copyright © 2015 Austrian Geological Society. Reproduced with permission.
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