Variations spatio-temporelles dans l'exhumation Cénozoïque de la chaîne Pyrénéo-catabrienne : couplages entre tectonique et processus de surface

par Charlotte Fillon

Thèse de doctorat en Sciences de l'univers

Sous la direction de Peter Van der Beek et de Ritske Huismans.

Soutenue le 24-01-2012

à Grenoble en cotutelle avec l'Universitetet i Bergen , dans le cadre de École doctorale terre, univers, environnement (Grenoble) , en partenariat avec Institut des Sciences de la Terre (équipe de recherche) .

Le président du jury était Patience Cowie.

Le jury était composé de Peter Van der Beek, Ritske Huismans, Jacques Malavieille, Daniel Garcia-castellanos, David Pedreira, Luca Perniola.

Les rapporteurs étaient Sean Willett, Hugh Sinclair, Jose Teixeira.


  • Résumé

    The Cenozoic evolution of the Pyrenean-Cantabrian mountain belt was driven by both internal andexternal processes, such as tectonics, erosion and deposition. This alpine belt is made up by thePyrenees and the Cantabrian Mountains, and is characterized by significant lateral variations intotal shortening, structural styles and topography. This thesis aims to better constrain the controlson exhumation and topography development during syn- to post-orogenic times, from the Eoceneto the Pliocene, by focusing on two characteristic parts of the belt: the Southern Central Pyreneesand the Central Cantabrian Mountains. To this purpose, a multi-disciplinary approach isdeveloped, combining low-temperature thermochronology with different numerical modelingtools. To better understand lateral variations in exhumation of the belt, a new low-temperaturethermochronology dataset is presented for the Cantabrian domain. The first part of this thesispresents new apatite fission-track data and (U-Th)/He analysis on zircons, constraining the timingand amount of exhumation along the central Cantabrian cross-section. In particular, the Eocene toOligocene ages obtained from the different thermochronometers allow us to infer a more importantamount of burial and, consequently, a thicker Mesozoic sedimentary section than previouslyconsidered, thereby also refining the structural style of the section at the upper crustal scale.The extensive thermochronological dataset existing in the central Pyrenees is then used toreconstruct the late-stage evolution of the South Central Axial Zone by thermo-kinematic inversemodeling. The model predicts rapid exhumation of the area during late Eocene (late syn-orogenic)times, followed by a post-orogenic evolution that is strongly controlled by base-level changes. Asa consequence of the establishment of endorheic conditions in the adjacent Ebro foreland basin,together with the strong erosion of the Axial Zone, the southern foreland area was infilled by animportant amount of erosional deposits in late Eocene to early Oligocene times. The models allowus to constrain the level of infilling at ~2.6 km and to date the excavation of these sediments at~10 Ma, following opening of the Ebro basin toward the Mediterranean Sea. The thickness ofsediments draping the foreland fold-and thrust belt was verified using fission-track analysis and(U-Th)/He measurements on apatites from foreland sediments. Thermal modeling of the dataprovides an estimate of 2 to 3 km of sediments on top of the foreland and confirms its incision inLate Miocene times. The effect of syn-orogenic deposition on the building and late evolution ofthe southern Pyrenean fold-and-thrust belt has been modeled in the last chapter of this thesis usinga 2D thermo-mechanical numerical modeling approach. The models highlight the potential effectof syn-tectonic sedimentation on thrust kinematics at several stages of wedge building. Ourmodeling also shows that the addition of an Oligocene sediment blanket perturbs the thrustingsequence by stabilizing the central part of the external wedge and enhancing both frontal andinternal accretion; a pattern that reproduces the observed deformation in the Southern CentralPyrenees.

  • Titre traduit

    Spatial and temporal variations in Cenozoic exhumation of the Pyrenean-Cantabrian mountain belt : coupling between tectonics and surface processes


  • Résumé

    The Cenozoic evolution of the Pyrenean-Cantabrian mountain belt was driven by both internal andexternal processes, such as tectonics, erosion and deposition. This alpine belt is made up by thePyrenees and the Cantabrian Mountains, and is characterized by significant lateral variations intotal shortening, structural styles and topography. This thesis aims to better constrain the controlson exhumation and topography development during syn- to post-orogenic times, from the Eoceneto the Pliocene, by focusing on two characteristic parts of the belt: the Southern Central Pyreneesand the Central Cantabrian Mountains. To this purpose, a multi-disciplinary approach isdeveloped, combining low-temperature thermochronology with different numerical modelingtools. To better understand lateral variations in exhumation of the belt, a new low-temperaturethermochronology dataset is presented for the Cantabrian domain. The first part of this thesispresents new apatite fission-track data and (U-Th)/He analysis on zircons, constraining the timingand amount of exhumation along the central Cantabrian cross-section. In particular, the Eocene toOligocene ages obtained from the different thermochronometers allow us to infer a more importantamount of burial and, consequently, a thicker Mesozoic sedimentary section than previouslyconsidered, thereby also refining the structural style of the section at the upper crustal scale.The extensive thermochronological dataset existing in the central Pyrenees is then used toreconstruct the late-stage evolution of the South Central Axial Zone by thermo-kinematic inversemodeling. The model predicts rapid exhumation of the area during late Eocene (late syn-orogenic)times, followed by a post-orogenic evolution that is strongly controlled by base-level changes. Asa consequence of the establishment of endorheic conditions in the adjacent Ebro foreland basin,together with the strong erosion of the Axial Zone, the southern foreland area was infilled by animportant amount of erosional deposits in late Eocene to early Oligocene times. The models allowus to constrain the level of infilling at ~2.6 km and to date the excavation of these sediments at~10 Ma, following opening of the Ebro basin toward the Mediterranean Sea. The thickness ofsediments draping the foreland fold-and thrust belt was verified using fission-track analysis and(U-Th)/He measurements on apatites from foreland sediments. Thermal modeling of the dataprovides an estimate of 2 to 3 km of sediments on top of the foreland and confirms its incision inLate Miocene times. The effect of syn-orogenic deposition on the building and late evolution ofthe southern Pyrenean fold-and-thrust belt has been modeled in the last chapter of this thesis usinga 2D thermo-mechanical numerical modeling approach. The models highlight the potential effectof syn-tectonic sedimentation on thrust kinematics at several stages of wedge building. Ourmodeling also shows that the addition of an Oligocene sediment blanket perturbs the thrustingsequence by stabilizing the central part of the external wedge and enhancing both frontal andinternal accretion; a pattern that reproduces the observed deformation in the Southern CentralPyrenees.


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