Provenance of Oligo-Miocene Strata from the Adriatic Foredeep of the Alps-Apennines System Determined through Detrital-Zircon U-Pb Geochronology

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Laura Nikolay Dafov1, Owen Anthony Anfinson1, Marco Giovanni Malusa'2 and Daniel F Stockli3, (1)University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX, United States, (2)University of Milano-Bicocca, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Milano, Italy, (3)University of Texas, Austin, TX, United States
U-Pb geochronology of detrital zircon is an effective method for evaluating exhumation history, provenance, and depositional age constraints of sedimentary deposits. Over 1400 grains evaluated from thirteen samples collected from distal and proximal Oligo-Miocene strata of Adriatic turbidites are consistent with modern characterization of the proposed source region. Studies indicate that the principal source area of Oligo-Miocene strata from Adriatic deposits is the Lepontine Dome of the Central Alps. Our data reveals a significant shift in detrital zircon U-Pb age populations during the Oligocene-Miocene boundary which, when compared with data from modern sands, closely correlates to the westward shift of the erosional foci within the Lepontine Dome, from the Ticino to the Toce subdome, due to progressive indentation of Adria. This is coeval with progressive unroofing of Periadriatic magmatic rocks of Tertiary age along the Insubric Fault.

The lowermost Upper Oligocene proximal samples collected from the Como and Villa Olmo Conglomerates are dominated by Caledonian and Cadomian detrital zircon U-Pb age populations. The uppermost Oligocene and lower Miocene proximal samples collected from the Como Conglomerate are dominated instead by Periadriatic detrital zircon.

Distal samples collected from the Lower Oligocene Aveto Formation have a dominant Periadriatic age peak with lesser amounts of late Cretaceous, Variscan, Caledonian and Cadomian detrital zircon. The lowermost Upper Oligocene distal samples collected from the Macigno Formation contain populations of Periadriatic, Variscan, Caledonian, and Cadomian detrital zircon, with major shifts in relative abundance from the lower to upper strata. The most dramatic shift in provenance in the distal units is between two samples located relatively proximally to one another in the Modino unit: Upper Oligocene marls contains primarily Variscan and Caledonian zircon grains with no individuals yielding Periadriatic ages, whereas the Upper Oligocene – Lower Miocene sandstones of the same unit include dominant Periadriatic and Variscan age populations. The youngest distal sample, from the Lower Miocene Bobbio Formation, primarily contains Variscan detrital zircon ages.