The upper Eocene-lower Oligocene sediments deposited in the eastern part of the Tertiary Piedmont Basin in northern Italy provide a complete record of the unroofing of the Alpine orogenic prism during the early stages of exhumation in the Ligurian sector. From late Priabonian till late Rupelian time, the sediments in the study area were derived from two different sources, one characterised by white micas with Si<6.5 pfu and Permian 40 Ar/ 39 Ar ages (270 Ma), and the other characterised by white micas with Si>7 pfu and Eocene-Oligocene 40 Ar/ 39 Ar ages (32-50 Ma). The first source is considered to be indicative of low-pressure metamorphic rocks that covered the HP rocks of the Ligurian Alps, and were completely eroded by Chattian time. From this time on, the study area started to record the first input from western Alpine sources characterised by a larger span of ages with a more frequent Eoalpine signal. Thus, sediments deposited in the eastern part of the Tertiary Piedmont Basin contain the only available evidence of rocks belonging to high crustal levels in the Alpine orogenic prism that were not affected by the Alpine overprint. These data also provide time constraints to the poorly dated first conglomerates deposited in this area. 40 Ar/ 39 Ar geochronology reveals a minimum age of 33±1.4 Ma for the Pianfolco Conglomerates in the type locality, and of 31.4±3.5 Ma for the Borbera Conglomerates.
- Ar/ Ar geochronology
- Ligurian Alps