Dating emplacement and evolution of the orogenic magmatism in the internal Western Alps: 1. The Miagliano Pluton

Alfons Berger, Tonny B. Thomsen, Maria Ovtcharova, Notburga Kapferer, Ivan Mercolli

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20 Citations (Scopus)


The Canavese Line in the Western Alps represents the position in the Alpine chain, where alkaline and calc-alkaline magmatism occur in close spatial and temporal association. In addition to available data on the alkaline Valle del Cervo Pluton, we present petrological and geochemical data on the Miagliano tonalite. The latter is of special interest, because it is located in the south-eastern side of the Canavese Line, in contrast to most Periadriatic Plutons. The dioritic to tonalitic rocks of the Miagliano Pluton represent an intermediate stage of a calc-alkaline differentiation, demonstrated by relics of two different pyroxenes as well as the texture of allanite. Hornblende barometry indicates pressures of ~0. 46 GPa consistent with the presence of magmatic epidote. Field relationships between the two Plutons, the volcanic and volcaniclastic rocks of the Biella Volcanic Suite and numerous dykes cross-cutting the different units, allow reconstruction of a more refined chronology of the calc-alkaline and alkaline magmatic series. High precision zircon geochronology yields an age of 33. 00 ± 0. 04 Ma for the central tonalitic part of the Miagliano Pluton and 30. 39 ± 0. 50 Ma for the granitic core of the Valle del Cervo Pluton. The difference in age combined with cooling data and intrusion depth indicates dissimilar tectonic transport east and west of the Canavese Line. The earlier emplaced Miagliano Pluton has to be exhumed from an intrusion depth of ~12-15 km, whereas the neighbouring and younger Valle del Cervo Pluton is exhumed from a depth of 5-7 km. This tectonic scenario is related to upper crustal rigid block rotation responsible for the burial of the lowermost Rupelian paleosurface of the Sesia-Lanzo Zone. Thus, the new ages constrain the paroxysm of the orogenic magmatism in the internal Western Alps to an extremely short lapse of time in the first half of the Rupelian.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-65
Number of pages17
JournalSwiss Journal of Geosciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Alkaline and calc-alkaline magmatism
  • Isotope dating
  • Miagliano Pluton
  • Western Alps
  • Electron microprobe
  • Canavese Line
  • Tonalite
  • Geochemistry

Programme Area

  • Programme Area 4: Mineral Resources


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