Three-dimensional model and late stage warping of the Plattengneis Shear Zone in the Eastern Alps

Martin Putz, Kurt Stüwe, Mark Jessell, Philippe Calcagno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The Plattengneis shear zone is a 250-600 m thick, flat lying, Cretaceous, eclogite facies, mylonitic shear zone, with north-over-south transport direction, that is exposed over almost 1000 km2 in the Koralpe region along the eastern margin of the Alps. Although the shear zone is one of the largest in the Alps, its role in the Eoalpine metamorphic evolution and the subsequent exhumation of the region, remain enigmatic and its large-scale geometry is not well understood. The outcrop pattern suggests that the shear zone is made up of a single sheet that is folded into a series of open syn- and antiforms with wavelengths of about 10 km. Eclogite bodies occur above, within and below the shear zone and there is no metamorphic grade change across the shear zone. In the south, the fold axes strike east-west and plunge shallowly to the east. In the north, the fold axes are oriented in north-south direction and form a dome shaped structure of the shear zone. Total shortening during this late stage warping event was of the order of 5%. Indirect evidence constrains this folding event to have occurred between 80 and 50 Ma and the fold geometry implies that the final exhumation in the Koralpe occurred somewhat later than further north. Interestingly, the shear zone appears to strike out of the topography in the south and dip into the topography in the north, so that north of the shear zone only hanging-wall rocks are exposed and south of it only foot-wall rocks. Possibilities for the geometric relationship of the Plattengneis shear zone with the surrounding south dipping detachments are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-103
Number of pages17
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes


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