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New structural constraints on the southern Provence thrust belt (France): evidences for an Eocene shortening event linked to the Corsica-Sardinia subduction

Andreani, L.; Loget, N.; Rangin, C.; Pichon, X. L.

Abstract

We reply to the comments of J. Philip regarding the structure of La Nerthe range (southern Provence, France) and the timing of the deformation. We first agree with J. Philip on the structural independence of La Nerthe and L’Etoile ranges. We then discuss the allochthonous and autochthonous models. The allochthonous model mainly relies on a reactivation of a N-verging thrust during the Oligocene. There are no evidences for a Middle Rupelian thrusting event and the interpretation of the Oligocene series in southern Provence area was entirely revised. J. Philip’s Argumentation is solely based on the existence of steep dipping Rupelian limestones. However we demonstrate that they could be tilted along normal faults as it is the case in the Marseille basin. Recent works clearly show that the Oligocene Marseille and Saint-Pierre basins have a similar tectonic history resulting from two main extensional events. The last point debated by J. Philip is the age of the strike-slip faults. As it is pointed in our contribution the strike-slip fault planes cut folded strata and were reactivated during an extensional event. This strike-slip faulting event occurred between the latest stages of the main Bartonian compressional event and the beginning of the Early Rupelian extensional tectonics. As pointed by J. Philip the E-trending faults of Saint-Pierre basin acted as normal faults during the Oligocene. We however suggest that these faults were inherited from the Late Eocene strike-slip tectonics and reactivated during the Oligocene.

Keywords: Tectonics; Southern Provence; La Nerthe range; Paleogene; Neogene

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