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Comment and Reply on "Very high rates of cooling and uplift in the Alpine belt of the Betic Cordilleras,

southern Spain"
Koende Jong Institut de Geodynamitjue, Universite de Nice-Sophia Antipolis, Pare Valrose, 06108 Nice Cedex 2, France temperature conditions, accompanied by retrograde reactions (Westerhof, 1977; Tubia and Cuevas, 1986). The temperature field for blocking of the isotope systems used by Zeck et a1. (1992) was, therefore, entered during overthrusting. K-Ar biotite cooling ages obtained by Priem et al. (1979), cited by Zeck et aI. (1992, Table 1, Sierra Alpujata), from high-grade metamorphic rocks below the peridotites (ALM 67, 76, and 79; Blanca unit or Ojen nappe) and above them (ALM 75 and 77; Los Reales unit) are concordant, pointing to a similar cooling history. Two-dimensional pressure-temperature-time modeling (Van Wees et aI., 1992), in combination with 4OAr/39Ar data (de long, 1991; de long et al., 1992), implies that cooling of the Alpujarride complex by about 200C is possible within a time span of 4 m.y., owing to thrusting of these rocks over cooler lithosphere. .\ Thus,. tectono-metamorphic characteristics and the concordance of cooling ages obtained from crustal rocks both above and below the peridotites imply that very rapid cooling of high-grade metamorphic rocks of the Alpujamde complex was achieved by their being thrust over less extended, cooler lithosphere during inversion of the late Oligocene to early Miocene extensional structure in the Betic Zone and not during progressive extension, as envisaged by Zeck et aI. (1992).

Zeck et al. (1992) discussed very high cooling and uplift rates in the Alpujarride complex (Betic Zone, southern Spain) in the context of extension-induced mantle diapirism due to lithospheric slab detachment. I agree with them on the very high cooling rates of these (very) high-grade metamorphic rocks (de long, 1990) and on the proposed extension mechanism (de Jong, 1991), but I do not believe that extension is the prime cooling mechanism. Geological and geopbysical observations and pressure-temperature-time modeling imply that the extensional structure is, in fact, inverted; thrusting of mantle rocks and of strongly attenuated and reheated crustal rocks of the Alpujarride complex over a less extended and thus cooler lithosphere provides an alternative explanation for their rapid cooling, as pointed out below. The importance of extension during the late Oligocene to early Miocene tectonic evolution of the Betic Zone has been envisaged by many authors from different points of view (e.g., Tubia and Cuevas, 1986; Platt, 1987; Bakker et ai., 1989; Platt and Vissers, 1989; de long, 1990, 1991; REFERENCES CITED Van Wees et al., 1992; Van der Beek and Cloetingh, 1992). Reheating of Bakker, H.E., de Jong, K., Helmers, H., and Biermann, C., 1989, The geodynamic the rocks of the Betic Zone has been assigned to extension-induced mantle evolution of the Internal Zone of the Betic Cordilleras (SE Spain): A model upwarping (Bakker et ai., 1989; de long, 1991; Van Wees et aI., 1992). based on structural analysis and geothermobarometry: Journal of Metamorphic Geology, v. 7, p. 359-381. The sharp downward increase in metamorphic grade in the AJpujamde complex (Los Reales unit; Westerhof, 1977; Tubia and Cuevas, 1986) Barranco, L.M., Ansorge, J., and Banda, E., 1990, Seismic refraction constraints on the geometry of the Ronda peridotite massif (Betic Cordillera, Spain): Teetoward the underlying ultramafic rocks may also be attributed to this tonophysiCl, v. 184, p. 379-392. mechanism, as well as the near-isothermal decompression (Westerhof, de Jong, K., 1990, Alpine tectonics and rotation pole evolution of Iberia: Tectonophysics, v. 184, p. 279-296. '1977) undergone by these mantle rocks. It is tempting to relate the presentday outcrop of ultramafic rocks in the western Betics directly to extension. de Jong, K., 1991, Tectono-metamorphic studies and radiometric dating in the Betic Cordilleras (SE Spain)-With implications for the dynamics of extension and Interpretation of seismic refraction profiles over the Ronda ultramafic compression in the western Mediterranean area [Ph.D. thesis]: Amsterdam, massif, however, implies that the peridotites do not root in the mantle, as Vrije Universiteit, 204 p. would be expected in a disposition due to extension, but instead represent de Jong, K., Wijbrans, J.R., and Feraud, G., 1992, Repeated thermal resetting of phen/tites in the Mulhacen Complex (Betic Zone, southeastern Spain) shown a thrust sheet (Barranco et al., 1990). Field relations show that the ultraby 4iJAr/38Ar step heating and single grain laser probe dating: Earth and mafic rocks rest on very high grade metamorphic crustal rocks of the Planetary Science Letters, v. 110 (in press). Alpujarride complex (Westerhof, 1977). This implies that the extensional Platt, J.P., 1987, The uplift of high-pressure-Iow-temperature metamorphic rocks: mantle uplift has been decapitated and transported over the crustal rocks Royal Society of London Philosophical Transactions, ser. A, v. 321, p.87-103. of the Alpujarride complex (Tubia and Cuevas, 1986), which in turn overthrust crustal rocks of the Nevado-Filabride complex, characterized PIatt, J.P., and Vissers, R.L.M., 1989, Extensional collapse of thickened continental lithosphere: A working hypothesis for the Alboran Sea and Gibraltar arc: by less extension-related reheating. Thus, the extensional structure has Geology, v. 17, p. 540-543. been inverted (de long, 1991; Van Wees et aI., 1992). Thrusting of the hot Priem, H.N.A., Boelrijk, N.A.I.M., Hebeda, E.H., Den, I.S., Verdurmen, E.A.Th., and Verschure, R.H., 1979, Isotopic dating of the emplacement of the ultraultramafic rocks bwesulted in an upward increase in metamorphic grade mafic masses in the Serrania de Ronda, southern Spain: Contributions to in the underlying rocks of the Alpujarride complex (Blanca unitMineralogy v. 70, p. 103-109. Westernof, 1977; Ojen nappe-Tubia and Cuevas, 1986), culminating in TubIa, J.M., andand Petrology,1986, High temperature emplacement of the Los Cuevas, J., localized fusion. Deformation structures in the mylonite zone separating Reales peridotite nappe (Betic Cordilleras, Spain): Journal of Structural Geolthe crustal rocks from the overlying peridotites indicate that ductile overogy, v. 8, p. 473-482. thrusting occurred during a change from high-temperature to low- Van der Beek, P.A., and Cloetingh, S., 1992, Lithospheric flexure and the tectonic

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evolution of the Betic Cordilleras (SE Spain): Tectonophysics, v. 203, p.325-344. Van Wees, J.D., de Jong, K., and Cloetingh, S., 1992, Two-dimensional P-T-t modelling and the dynamics of extension and inversion in the Betic zone (SE Spain): Tectonophysics, v. 203, p. 305-324. Westerhof, A.B., 1977, On the contact relations of high temperature peridotites in the Serrania de Ronda, southern Spain: Tectonophysics, v. 39, p. 579-592. Zeek, H.P., Monii:, P., Villa, I.M., and Hansen, B.T., 1992, Very high rates of cooling and uplift in the Alpine belt of the Betic Cordilleras, southern Spain: Geology, v. 10, p. 79-83.

H. P. Zeek

Geological Institute, Copenhagen University, 1350K Copenhagen, Denmark

P. Monie
Geological Institute, Montpellier University, Montpellier, France
I. M. Villa

Isotope Geological Unit, Bern University, Bern, Switzerland A major point in our paper (Zeck et aI., 1992), namely the paleontological age that terminates the time-temperature calibration of our coolinguplift-exhumation sequence apparently was not quite clear to de Jong. Unlike most other cooling-uplift studies, our reconstructed cooling histories for three areas within the Alpujarride nappe complex end under ambient surface conditions. This implies active removal of cover material after passing through the isotopic closure temperature windows to produce a transgression surface. Thrusting of Alpujarride nappe complexes over cooler Nevado-Fihibride basement, claimed by de Jong as an alternative cooling model, is clearly not enough. The situation is best illustrated in Figure 1, which reproduces one of de Jong's figures (Van Wees et aI.,


<===:J EXT ENS ION r::::=::::)


Figure 1. Schematic northwest-southeast sections illustrating suggested cooling thrust phase (de Jong's Comment) inverting a suggested earlier extension. N = Nevado-Filabride nappe complex; LA = Lower Alpujarride nappe complex; HA = Higher Alpujarride nappe complex.

1992). The section indicates that after the hypothesized cooling thrust phase the cover stilI bas to be removed; if anything, the thrusting will thicken the cover. The quintessence of the data we presented (Zeck et ai., 1992) is that the time span indicated between the biotite and muscovite isotopic closure ages and the paleontological age of the transgressive sedimentary rocks is within a few million years. On this basis, we expressed doubt whether erosion alone could have been the operational process and instead suggested an extensional tectonic setting, tectonic unroofing, uplift, and exhumation as the cause of the rapid cooling (Zeck et aI., 1992). De long makes a lot out of the presumed concordance of KI Ar ages for rocks overlying and underlying "the peridotites" and claims it supports his cooling-thrust theory. For the Sierra Alpujata slab the concordance is indicated by present data, but there are no data to support a regional generalization. Furthermore, the conclusive power of such concordance is doubtful. It is in agreement with, or does not deny, several other models, including our suggestion of tectonic unroofing. The cited apparent age concordance (De Jong's Comment) merely indicates that the cooling through the closure temperature of the K-Ar system took place at approximately the same time below and above the peridotite slab in the Sierra Alpujata. De long states that we discussed the very high cooling and uplift rates within the context of extension-induced mantle diapirism due to lithosphere slab detachment, and he claims that we believe that extension is the prime cooling mechanism and that we envisage the very rapid cooling to take place during progressive extension. These references and several others made to our paper (Zeck et aI., 1992) are not quite correct and draw a misleading picture of our suggestions. The background for our suggestion of tectonic unroofing has been explained above; it should be noted that we specifically kept open the possibility of body-force-controlled extensional tectonics in the crustal section within an overall compressive regime. Apart from assigning this tectonic event to the late stage of the orogeny, we pointedly did not attempt to incorporate it into a regional orogenic scenario. Space limitations did not allow it, and our data do not restrain and are not dependent on, e.g., direction of movement, correlation with existing schemes of deformation phases, or the occurrence and importance of shear beating. In the last paragraph of the paper (Zeek et al., 1992) we drew attention to a recent tomography analysis by Blanco and Spakman (1992) which, following upon earlier seismic work by Chung and Kanamori (1976), Udias et aI. (1976), and Buforn et a\. (1988), indicates the presence of a northeast-striking, roughly vertical, detached lithospheric fragment at a depth of 200-700 km in the mantle of the Betic- Alboran region. We regarded this as very important evidence and suggested that the detached slab might represent a remnant of an earlier active, northwestward-dipping subduction zone. Its location and orientation would agree with the suggested southeastward drift of the Iberian block in connection with the opening of the North Atlantic and the resulting involvement of the western realm of the Tethys-i.e., the Alpine orogeny. We made the carefully phrased suggestions that (1) the detachment of the lithospheric slab might have been a contributive factor to the very high rates of cooling, uplift, and exhumation which our data seem to imply for the Alpujarride nappe complex within the remaining, nonsubducted lithosphere, and (2) the sinking of the slab possibly induced diapirism in the surrounding mantle. We conclude that the detailed and decisively formulated geodynamic scenario presented by de J ong is not supported by the data we presented (Zeck et aI., 1992). The phase of late-stage tectonic unroofing we suggested is accommodated much better by other orogenic models (e.g., Tubia et aI., 1992).
REFERENCES CITED Blanco, M.J., and Spakman, W., 1992, The P-wave velocity structure of the mantle below the Iberian peninSUla: Evidence for subducted lithosphere below southern Spain: Tectonophysics (in press): Buforn, E., Udlas, A., and Mezcua, J., 1988, Seismicity and focal mechanisms in south Spain: Seismological Society of America Bulletin, v. 78, p. 1372-1382.

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Chung, W.-Y., and Kanamori, H., 1976, Source process and tectonic implications of the Spanish deep-focus earthquake of March 29,1954: Physics ofthe Earth and Planetary Interiors, v. 13, p. 85-96. Tubia, J.M., Cuevas, J., Navarro-Vila, F., and Alvarez, F., 1992, Tectonic evolution of the Alpujarride Complex (Betic Cordillera, southern Spain): Journal of Structural Geology, v. 14, p. 193-203. Udias, A., L6pez Arroyo, A., and Mezcua, J., 1976, Seismo-tectonics of the AzoresAlboran region: Tectonophysics, v. 31, p. 259-289.

Van Wees, J.D., de Jong, K., and Cloetingh, S., 1992, Two-dimensional P-T-t modelling and the dynamics of extension and inversion in the Betic Zone (SE Spain): Tectonophysics, v. 203, p. 305-324. Zeck, H.P., Monj{~, P., Villa, I.M., and Hansen, B.T., 1992, Very high rates of cooling and uplift in the Alpine belt of the Betic Cordilleras, southern Spain: Geology, v. 20, p. 79-82.


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