Integrated petrological and structural investigations of eclogites from the eclogite zone of the Voltri Massif (Ligurian Alps) have been used to reconstruct a complete Alpine P–T deformation path from burial by subduction to subsequent exhumation. The early metamorphic evolution of the eclogites has been unravelled by correlating garnet zonation trends with the chemical variations in inclusions found in the different garnet domains. Garnet in massive eclogites displays typical growth zoning, whereas garnet in foliated eclogites shows rim-ward resorption, likely related to re-equilibration during retrogressive evolution. Garnet inclusions are distinctly different from core to rim, consisting primarily of Ca-, Na/Ca-amphibole, epidote, paragonite and talc in garnet cores and of clinopyroxene ± talc in the outer garnet domains. Quantitative thermobarometry on the inclusion assemblages in the garnet cores defines an initial greenschist-to-amphibolite facies metamorphic stage (M1 stage) at c. 450–500 C and 5–8 kbar. Coexistence of omphacite + talc + katophorite inclusion assemblage in the outer garnet domains indicate c. 550 C and 20 kbar, conditions which were considered as minimum P–T estimates for the M2 eclogitic stage. The early phase of retrograde reactions is polyphase and equilibrated under epidote–blueschist facies (M3 stage), characterized by the development of composite reaction textures (garnet necklaces and fluid-assisted Na-amphibole-bearing symplectites) produced at the expense of the primary M2 garnet-clinopyroxene assemblage. The blueschist retrogression is contemporaneous with the development of a penetrative deformation (D3) that resulted in a non-coaxial fabric, with dominant topto- the-N sense of shear during rock exhumation. All of that is overprinted by a texturally late amphibolite/greenschist facies assemblages (M4 & M5 stages), which are not associated with a penetrative structural fabric. The combined P–T deformation data are consistent with an overall counter-clockwise path, from the greenschist/amphibolite, through the eclogite, the blueschist to the greenschist facies. These new results provide insights into the dynamic evolution of the Tertiary oceanic subduction processes leading to the building up of the Alpine orogen and the mechanisms involved in the exhumation of its high-pressure roots.
Vignaroli, G., Rossetti, F., M., B., H. J., M., T., T., Faccenna, C., et al. (2005). A counter-clockwise P-T path for the Voltri Massif eclogites (Ligurian Alps, Italy). JOURNAL OF METAMORPHIC GEOLOGY, 23, 533-555.