Exhumation as fast as subduction?

Daniela Rubatto*, Jörg Hermann

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    477 Citations (Scopus)


    We produced a pressure-temperature-time path in order to determine the exhumation rate of the deepest subducted Alpine rocks. In situ dating of peak-metamorphic titanite in an eclogite facies cale-silicate rock indicates that subduction to pressures of ∼3.5 GPa was reached at 35.1 ± 0.9 Ma. Titanite formed during two decompression stages, at 1 ± 0.15 GPa and ∼0.4-0.5 GPa, and yielded ages of 32.9 ± 0.9 Ma and 31.8 ± 0.5 Ma, respectively. Combining the age data and making assumptions about the conversion of pressure to depth yield mean exhumation rates of 3.4 cm/yr and 1.6 cm/yr. These rates imply that exhumation acted at plate tectonic speeds similar to subduction, and was significantly faster than erosion. We suggest that fast exhumation is driven by a combination of tectonic processes involving buoyancy and normal faulting.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-6
    Number of pages4
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2001


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