Brittle deformation between the Ambin and Vanoise domes in the frame of the structural evolution of the internal Alpine belt

P. Strzerzynski, S. Guillot, H. Leloup, P. Ledru, G. Courrioux, and X. Darmendrail

New geophysical data and geological observations emphasize the importance of brittle tectonics in the Neogene to present day evolution of the Western Alps. The oldest Neogene stress state (F1) is characterized by extension direction parallel to the orogen and shortening direction vertical or perpendicular to the Alpine belt whereas the youngest tectonic event (F2) is characterized by brittle extension perpendicular to the mountain belt. According to new brittle microtectonics data from the High Maurienne valley near Modane and a synthesis of the available geochronological and microtectonics data at the scale of the internal Alps, we discuss a timing of the brittle tectonics phases and their role in the formation of basement domes (Internal Crystalline massifs and Briançonnais domes). We propose that the F1 event spans from 32-30 Ma to 22 Ma south of the Simplon fault and was probably active up to 5 Ma on the Simplon fault. The F2 event started at about 6-5 Ma and is still active. In this scheme, basement domes observed in the Western Alps are the results of interference between an early E-W extension along NE-SW ductile to brittle faults and the two F1-F2 brittle tectonic events documented here.