International Journal of Earth Sciences

, Volume 108, Issue 8, pp 2443–2467 | Cite as

Polyphase tectono-magmatic evolution during mantle exhumation in an ultra-distal, magma-poor rift domain: example of the fossil Platta ophiolite, SE Switzerland

  • M.-E. EpinEmail author
  • G. Manatschal
  • M. Amman
  • C. Ribes
  • A. Clausse
  • T. Guffon
  • M. Lescanne
Review Article


Despite the fact that many studies have investigated mantle exhumation at ultra-slow-spreading ridges and magma-poor rifted margins, there are still numerous questions concerning the 3D architecture, magmatic, fluid, and thermal evolution of these domains that remain unexplained. Indeed, it has been observed in seismic data from ultra-distal magma-poor rifted margins that top basement is heavily structured and complex; however, the associated morpho-tectonic and magmatic processes remain ill constrained. The aim of this study is to describe the 3D top basement morphology, timing, and processes controlling the formation of an exhumed mantle domain preserved over about 200 km2 in the Platta nappe in SE Switzerland. Detailed mapping of parts of the Platta nappe enabled to document the top basement architecture of an exhumed mantle domain, and to investigate its link to later, rift/oceanic structures, magmatic additions, and hydrothermal fluid systems. Our observations show: (1) a polyphase deformation history associated with mantle exhumation along exhumation faults overprinted by later high-angle normal faults, (2) a structured top basement morphology capped by magmato-sedimentary sequences, (3) a tectono-magmatic evolution that includes gabbros, emplaced at deeper levels and subsequently exhumed and overlain by younger extrusive magmatic additions, and (4) fluid systems related to serpentinization, calcification, hydrothermal vents, rodingitization, and spilitization affecting exhumed mantle and associated magmatic rocks. The overall observations provide new information on the temporal and spatial evolution of the tectonic and magmatic processes and their link to hydrothermal and sedimentary systems controlling the formation of ultra-distal, magma-poor rifted margins, and lithospheric breakup.


Ocean–continent transition Tectono-magmatic evolution Mantle exhumation Magma-poor rifting Alps 



The authors are grateful to the financial support of Total S.A. supporting the Ph.D. of the fist author. We would also like to thank the numerous colleagues from academia and industry that participated in field excursions through the study area and contributed in a constructive way to the work that we present in this paper. Thanks to O. Jäger from Bivio for giving access to unpublished drilling data for geotechnical application (Bohr Company: Nicol. Hartmann & Cie. AG St. Moritz; Bohr Master: Pedro Menenzes). We particularly thank the reviewers Adrian Pfiffner and Torger Bjørge Andersen, and the Editor Wolf-Christian Dullo for their work.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 19787 kb)


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Copyright information

© Geologische Vereinigung e.V. (GV) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecole et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre, Institut de Physique du Globe de StrasbourgCNRS, UMR7516, Université de StrasbourgStrasbourg CedexFrance
  2. 2.Total S.APauFrance

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