Magnetic anisotropy reveals Neogene tectonic overprint in highly strained carbonate mylonites from the Morcles nappe, Switzerland

Almqvist, Bjarne S.G.; Hirt, Ann M.; Herwegh, Marco; Leiss, Bernd (2011). Magnetic anisotropy reveals Neogene tectonic overprint in highly strained carbonate mylonites from the Morcles nappe, Switzerland. Journal of structural geology, 33(5), pp. 1010-1022. Elsevier 10.1016/j.jsg.2011.02.002

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The anisotropy of magnetic susceptibility (AMS) has been measured with low- and high-field methods, in deformed carbonate rocks along the Morcles nappe shear zone (Helvetic Alps). High-field measurements at room temperature and 77 K enable the separation of the ferrimagnetic, paramagnetic and diamagnetic anisotropy. The ferrimagnetic sub-fabric is generally insignificant in these rocks, contributing less than 10% to the total AMS. AMS results for both the separated diamagnetic and paramagnetic subfabrics are consistent with the regional shear movement in the late-stage formation of the Helvetic nappes, as seen in the Morcles nappe, whose inverted limb indicate shear displacement towards the northwest. The diamagnetic anisotropy correlates well quantitatively with the calculated magnetic anisotropy based on the calcite texture. There is a gradational change in the degree of anisotropy related to the strain gradient along the shear zone. A more complex magnetic fabric, resulting from partial overprinting due to displacement along the Simplon–Rhône fault, is evident at one site near the root zone of the nappe. Partial overprinting of the magnetic fabric appears to have taken place in two locations farther up the shear zone as well. This late phase deformation is associated with recent exhumation of the Mont Blanc and Belledonne external massifs and orogen parallel extension, and is reflected by the AMS. Rocks with bulk susceptibility ∼0 SI, and simple mineral compositions are ideal for low temperature high-field torque, as this method helps to enhance the paramagnetic susceptibility and anisotropy, which may otherwise be masked by the mixed magnetic contributions of the composite magnetic fabric.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geological Sciences

UniBE Contributor:

Herwegh, Marco


500 Science > 550 Earth sciences & geology








Marco Herwegh

Date Deposited:

21 Jul 2016 12:23

Last Modified:

27 Jul 2016 10:10

Publisher DOI:





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