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Geology of the Entracque-Colle di Tenda area (Maritime Alps, NW Italy).

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DOI:10.1080/17445647.2015.1024293 Terms of use:

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Journal of Maps, 2015, DOI: 10.1080/17445647.2015.1024293 ovvero Barale et al., Taylor & Francis, 2015, pagg.1-12

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Geological map of the Entracque–Colle di Tenda area (Maritime Alps, NW Italy)

Luca Baralea*, Carlo Bertoka, Anna d’Atria, Luca Martirea, Fabrizio Pianab, Gabriele Dominic a) Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra, Università degli Studi di Torino, Via Valperga Caluso 35 - 10125 Torino, Italy. luca.barale@hotmail.it, carlo.bertok@unito.it,

anna.datri@unito.it, luca.martire@unito.it

b) Istituto di Geoscienze e Georisorse, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Via Valperga Caluso 35 - 10125 Torino, Italy. f.piana@csg.to.cnr.it

c) Via degli Olmi 4 - 10023 Chieri (TO), Italy. gabrix@hotmail.it

* Corresponding author.


The research was supported by funds from the CNR–IGG (Unità di Torino). Alessia Musso is acknowledged for sharing field work in the early phases of the research. We would like to thank the Associate Editor Claudio Riccomini, and the Referees Riccardo Bersezio, Silvio T. Hiruma and Thomas Pingel, whose useful suggestions really improved both the manuscript and the geological map.

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The 1:25,000 geological map of the Entracque–Colle di Tenda area covers an area of about 130 km2 in the Italian Maritime Alps, between the Gesso and Vermenagna valleys.

The map area is of great relevance since the Alpine units of this region sampled a geological nodal point in the Mesozoic, at the transition between two different

sedimentation domains of the Alpine Tethys European paleomargin (the Dauphinois basin to the NW and the Provençal platform to the SE). During the Cenozoic, this

paleogeographic hinge was progressively incorporated along multiple shear-zone systems developed at the southern termination of the Western Alps arc.

The realization of the map was made possible by studies concerning both the stratigraphic and structural setting of the area, which have been (or are being) published in several international journals.

Keywords: Provençal Domain, Dauphinois Domain, Argentera Massif, Limone–Viozene Zone, Maritime Alps

1. Introduction

The 1:25,000 geological map of the Entracque–Colle di Tenda area is the result of original 1:10,000 scale surveys performed in the last ten years at the southern termination of the Western Alps Arc (NW Italy) over an area significantly wider than the one here

represented. This document is thus the first published detailed map in the frame of a scientific program focusing on the revision of the stratigraphic and tectonic setting of a large area encompassing, from NW to SE, the Italian side of the Maritime Alps and the westernmost part of the Ligurian Alps, the main results of which were just published (Barale et al., 2013; Bertok, Martire, Perotti, d’Atri, & Piana, 2011, 2012; Martire, Bertok, 17

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d’Atri, Perotti, & Piana, 2014; Perotti et al., 2012; Piana et al., 2009, 2014; d’Atri, Piana, Barale, Bertok, & Martire, submitted).

The map area extends from the left side of the Gesso valley (NW) to the Colle di Tenda area (SE) (see Structural Scheme in the Map). It is composed of several tectonic units, separated by NW–SE striking Alpine tectonic contacts. Their geometrical position has been classically interpreted to reflect the paleogeographic position along the Mesozoic European paleomargin of the Tethys, thus the lowest units were attributed to the more external Dauphinois and Provençal domains, whereas the overlying units to the more internal Subbriançonnais Domain (Carraro et al., 1970). On the whole, they presently form a SE–NW trending narrow belt, comprised between the Argentera Massif to the SW and the more internal Briançonnais and Western Ligurian Helminthoides Flysch units to the NE. However, Barale (2014) and d’Atri et al. (submitted) showed that the stratigraphic succession of the uppermost tectonic unit of our map area (Colle di Tenda unit sensu Carraro et al., 1970; Roaschia unit in this work, see section 3) has striking similarities with the Provençal ones (see Chapter 4). For this reason, in this paper the Roaschia Unit has been attributed to the Provençal Domain, in agreement with Maury and Ricou (1983) which questioned the existence, in the study area, of the Subbriançonnais

paleogeographic domain. In the map area the transition between the Dauphinois and Provençal domains occurs across paleoescarpments placed transversally to the contacts between the main tectonic units as, for instance, within the Entracque Unit (see Chapter 5).

Since middle Eocene–early Oligocene the paleo-European continental margin was progressively involved in the on-going formation of the Alpine belt. All the studied

successions underwent at least three deformation events well recorded at regional scale: a first event with S- and SW-ward brittle–ductile thrusting and superposed folding, a second 42

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event with NE-vergent folding and a third event with southward brittle thrusting and flexural folding (Brizio et al., 1983; Piana et al., 2009). The overall regional kinematic was

displayed, at least for the two last deformational stages, in a transpressional regime with important strain partitioning of contractional vs. strike-slip related structural associations (Molli et al., 2010; Piana et al., 2009; d’Atri et al., submitted), as evidenced by the occurrence of the Limone Viozene Zone (LiVZ, a post-Oligocene NW–SE Alpine

transcurrent shear zone extending for several kilometres from Tanaro valley to the eastern margin of the study area) and of the E–W strike-slip shear zone system generally known as Stura Fault (Ricou & Siddans,1986) and here referred as Demonte–Aisone shear zone (DAZ).

The study area was previously mapped in the Demonte sheet of the Geological Map of Italy at 1:100,000 scale (Abiad et al., 1970, explanatory notes by Crema, Dal Piaz, Merlo,

& Zanella, 1971), and in the Geological Map of the Argentera Massif at 1:50,000 scale (Malaroda, 1970, explanatory notes by Carraro et al., 1970).

The aims of the map are:

to represent in detail the lithological and structural features of the stratigraphic successions at the northeastern side of the Argentera Massif;

to characterize and represent the stratigraphic transition between the Dauphinois and Provençal successions;

to identify and map the tectonic structures connecting the LiVZ (occurring to the E of the study area) with the DAZ (occurring to the W);

to map in detail the carbonate rock bodies affected by dolomitization or recrystallization.

2. Methods 67

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The geological map is drawn at 1:25,000 scale and covers an area of approximately 130 km2. Data were collected through fieldwork at 1:10,000 scale, stored in a GIS database (Coordinate System WGS 1984 UTM, Zone 32N), and represented on a vector

topographic map, which for the most part derives from the CTRN (Vector Regional Technical Map) of Piedmont, vector_10 series, edition 1991–2005 (1:10,000 scale) (see Main Map for further details).

Geological survey of the main lithostratigraphic units has been integrated by observations on mesoscale geological features and by microscale analysis of rocks in thin sections, whose results are fully reported in Barale (2014) and Barale et al. (2013). Orthophoto analysis ( 2012 AGEA–Agency for Agricultural Supply orthophoto; web map service available at http://wms.pcn.minambiente.it/ogc?

map=/ms_ogc/WMS_v1.3/raster/ortofoto_colore_12.map) was also performed to precisely map the boundaries of Quaternary deposits. A tectonic sketch map at 1:150,000 scale, attached to the map, shows the main tectonic units of the study and adjoining areas (see also d’Atri et al., submitted). The Permian–Lower Cretaceous units, which had no formal names in the literature, have been labeled referring to toponyms within or adjoining the study area, whereas, for the Aptian–Upper Cretaceous succession and the Alpine Foreland Basin succession, the names existing in the previous literature have been utilized.

3. Structural setting

The two main macroscale tectonic features of the map area, both NW–SE striking, are: the Serra Garb Thrust (SGT) in the northwestern part and the Limone–Viozene Zone (LiVZ) in the eastern and southeastern parts (see Structural Scheme in the Map).

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The SW-vergent Serra Garb Thrust caused the superposition of the Roaschia Unit, characterized by a Provençal succession, onto the Entracque Unit (section A–A’ in the Map) that consists of two distinct stratigraphic successions: Dauphinois in the

northwestern sector and Provençal in the southeastern sector. These two sectors are separated by a Early Cretaceous paleoescarpment (probably active since the Jurassic), partially preserved in the Caire di Porcera locality (see Chapter 5) despite its relative closeness to the multiple shear zones developed in the footwall of the SGT (section B–B’

in the Map).

Just below the SGT, a decametre-wide shear zone is developed, with intense cataclastic deformation and development of drag fold sequences, kinematically consistent with the SGT sense of shearing. This intensively deformed zone, that reaches the total thickness of 60–70 m, involves almost exclusively the Alpine Foreland Basin successions in the upper part of the Entracque Unit, below the SGT.

The Entracque Unit footwall is widely deformed by open flexural folds, locally overturned, with poorly inclined axial surfaces (e.g., Monte La Piastra–Monte Lausa anticline). These folds affect both the Jurassic and Cretaceous successions. The asymmetry of the folds indicates that they formed before the SGT shearing, by which they were cut off and partially dragged.

The SGT laterally fringes to SE into a system of steep strike-slip and convergent-wrench faults that represents the northwestern termination of the LiVZ (Piana et al., 2009), a complex zone where several tectonic slices pertaining to distinct paleogeographic domains are embedded and mostly sheared along average WNW–ESE direction (section C–C’ in the Map). The SW-ward tectonic transport of the SGT seems to progressively change (Monte Bussaia area) into the convergent-wrench movements of the southwestern LiVZ boundary faults.

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4. Lithostratigraphic units

The stratigraphic succession starts with Permian–Lower Triassic continental to coastal deposits (e.g., Barrier, Montenat, & De Lumley, 2009; Faure-Muret, 1955; Malaroda, 1999), resting on the crystalline basement of the Argentera Massif. They are followed by Middle Triassic peritidal carbonates, Upper Triassic continental red and green shales, Rhaetian–Hettangian peritidal carbonates and Sinemurian, open-platform bioclastic limestones (Carraro et al., 1970). Starting from the Early–Middle Jurassic, this area

differentiated into two distinct sedimentation domains. The Dauphinois Domain evolved as a subsident basin, in which thick hemipelagic and pelagic successions were deposited (Barale, 2014), while the Provençal Domain remained an area of shallow-water carbonate sedimentation until the earliest Cretaceous (Barale et al., 2013; Barale, 2014). During the Cretaceous, the partial drowning of the Provençal platform led to a relative facies

homogenization between the two sectors, in which hemipelagic sediments were deposited (Bersezio, Barbieri, & Mozzi, 2002; Sturani, 1963), although important thickness

differences persisted, related to basin paleotopography.

In both Provençal and Dauphinois Domains, the top of the Mesozoic succession is truncated by a regional unconformity corresponding to a hiatus spanning the Late Cretaceous–middle Eocene. Above, the Alpine Foreland Basin succession starts with a discontinuous interval of continental to lagoonal deposits (Microcodium Formation), followed by the middle Eocene Nummulitic Limestone ramp deposits, the hemipelagic upper Eocene Globigerina Marl and by the upper Eocene–lower Oligocene turbidite succession of the Gres d’Annot (Ford, Lickorish, & Kuznir, 1999; Sinclair, 1997).

Some tectonic slices of Western Ligurian Flysch units, deeply involved in the LiVZ (Piana et al., 2014), crop out at the SE edge of the map. They are composed by Cretaceous 141

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carbonate-poor, thin-bedded varicoloured pelites (‘basal complexes’ of Vanossi et al., 1984) interpreted as basin plain deposits.

4.1. Argentera Massif crystalline basement

The crystalline rocks of the Argentera Massif, cropping out at the western margin of the map and mostly consisting of migmatitic granitoid gneiss with masses of granitoids and migmatitic amphibolites (Lombardo, Compagnoni, Ferrando, Radulesco, & Rolland, 2011;

Malaroda, 1970), have been represented as a unique cartographic unit, as this map focuses on the sedimentary successions.

4.2. Permian–Lower Jurassic succession

4.2.1. Rocca dell’Abisso Formation (Permian)

Arenites and conglomerates, with minor pelite intercalations. Conglomerates are

composed of clasts of volcanic rocks (mainly rhyolites), migmatites, gneiss, quartzites and granites. This unit is several hundred-metres thick, and occurs only in the southern sector of the map (Rocca dell’Abisso, Vallone del Sabbione). A tectonic slice of volcanic–

subvolcanic rhyolitic rocks attributed to the Permian (Malaroda,1970) occurs close to Colle dell’Arpione.

4.2.2. Valette du Sabion quartzarenites (Early Triassic)

Cross-bedded quartzarenites and pebbly quartzarenites in dm-thick beds. This unit is a few metres thick, and locally followed by a few decimetres of dark-red pelites (Vallone del Sabbione, Monte del Chiamossero, Forte Margheria). In the northern part of the Entracque Unit (Vallone d’Alpetto), this unit consists of a few-decimetres to a few-metres thick

greenish arenites and siltites, locally cemented by a brown, Fe-bearing carbonate.

4.2.3. Mont Agnolet Formation (Middle Triassic) 166

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Finely-crystalline dolostones, dolomitic limestones and limestones, in dm-thick beds, cropping out in tectonic slices of limited extent and thickness (Monte del Chiamossero, Vallone del Sabbione, Gias d’Alpetto, Colle di Tenda). They show microbial/algal

lamination, collapse breccias and flat pebble breccias, and contain rare brachiopods and gastropods.

4.2.4. Bec Matlas shales (Late Triassic)

Red and green shales showing a marked slaty cleavage, occurring as m- to dam-thick, strongly sheared tectonic slices (e.g. Bec Matlas, Palanfré, Monte Servatun).

4.2.5. Monte Servatun Formation (Rhaetian–Hettangian)

Fine-grained limestones and dolomitic limestones, with algal lamination, flat-pebble breccias and bivalve-coquina layers, and dark shales with Cardita munita (Malaroda, 1957). This unit crops out only in tectonic slices and therefore it is not possible to evaluate its thickness.

4.2.6. Costa Balmera Limestone (Sinemurian)

Bioclastic packstones and wackestones with crinoid ossicles (Pentacrinites? sp.), bivalves, belemnites, and ammonite shell fragments, cropping out in tectonic slices of some

hundred-metres size. A metre-thick interval of carbonate breccias with clasts of fine- grained dolostones, limestones, and cherts (Domini, 2010), locally cropping out in the southern sector (Punta Bussaia), has been attributed to this unit because of its

stratigraphic position, i.e. above the Mont Agnolet Formation.

4.3. Middle Jurassic–Lower Cretaceous Dauphinois succession (Barale, 2014)

4.3.1. Entracque Marl (Middle? Jurassic–Berriasian?; Barale, 2014)

Dark marls, calcareous marls and shales, in dm-thick beds, with rare bioclastic mudstones and wackestones. In the upper part cm- to dm-thick breccia beds are present, more and 191

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more abundant toward the top of the unit. Breccia clasts, mm- to cm-sized, are both extraformational (finely-crystalline dolostones, ooidal–peloidal grainstones, bioclastic wackestones) and intraformational (grayish and pinkish mudstones) (Figure 1(a)). This unit is estimated to be some hundred-metres thick.

4.3.2. Lausa Limestone (Valanginian? –early Aptian?; Barale, 2014)

Fine-grained limestones, with abundant dm-thick beds of polymictic breccias, generally clast-supported, with mm- to dm-sized clasts of mudstones, coarsely-crystalline

dolostones (dolomitized Garbella Limestone) and finely-crystalline dolostones (Mont Agnolet Formation). Locally (Tetti Prer, Colletta Soprana, San Lorenzo), m-sized blocks of dolomitized Garbella Limestone occur (Figure 1(b)). They are followed by grey mudstones and crinoid-rich wackestones, in cm- to dm-thick beds, with abundant silicified portions.

This unit has a total thickness of 60–70 m.

4.4. Middle Jurassic–Lower Cretaceous Provençal succession

4.4.1. Garbella Limestone (Middle? Jurassic–Berriasian?; Barale, 2014)

Massive limestone succession, 200–300 m thick, mainly composed of bioclastic

packstones to rudstones and coral boundstones, containing corals, nerineid gastropods (e.g., Ptygmatis pseudobruntrutana), rudists (Diceratidae), stromatoporids, and benthic foraminifera (Textularidae, Valvulinidae). In the upper part, mudstones–wackestones rich in Clypeina jurassica are common. In the Roaschia Unit, the above-described lithofacies are limited to the uppermost some tens of metres, whereas the lower part consists of bioclastic wackestones to packstones or floatstones, with abundant crinoid ossicles, along with rare gastropods, bivalves, corals, stromatoporids and red algae. The top of the unit is composed of a m-thick interval of fenestral and laminated mudstones, associated with flat pebble breccias, oolitic grainstones, and nodular mudstones. Locally (Monte Colombo, 216

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Passo di Ciotto Mien), beds of bioclastic wackestones, with Porocharaceae (sp. aff.

Porochara fusca), ostracods and gastropods are also present. This unit is locally affected by important phenomena of hydrothermal dolomitization (see Section 6).

4.4.2. Testas Limestone (Hauterivian p.p.? –Barremian?; Barale, 2014)

This condensed succession is discontinuously present above the Garbella Limestone. In the southern part of Entracque Unit it is composed of a few metres of marly limestones with abundant belemnites and echinoderm fragments. In Roaschia Unit it consists of 10–

15 m of crinoid-rich wackestones and packstones, locally passing to proper encrinites (Monte Testas). These deposits are bioturbated (Thalassinoides), and contain dm-sized silicified nodules, abundant belemnites, planktonic foraminifera (Hedbergella sp.),

fragments of large tube worms and phosphate grains. At the top, a thick conglomerate bed with belemnites, reworked ammonite molds (Melchiorites sp., Barremites sp.), solitary corals, and phosphatized lithoclasts is present.

4.5. Aptian–Upper Cretaceous succession

4.5.1. Marne Nere (Aptian–Cenomanian; Carraro et al., 1970)

Dark shales and marls with echinoderm fragments. The total thickness is up to 70–80 m in the northwestern part of the Entracque Unit, whereas in the others sectors the unit is much less thick (10–20 m) or even locally absent.

4.5.2. Puriac Limestone (Turonian p.p. –Campanian?; Bersezio et al., 2002; Sturani, 1963) Alternation of limestones (bioclastic mudstones and wackestones) and marly limestones, in cm- to dm-thick beds. It is several hundred-metres thick in the northwestern part of the Entracque Unit, whereas it does not exceed 100 m of thickness in the Roaschia Unit, and is totally absent in the southeastern sector of the map. It is characterized by the

occurrence of two detrital lithozones, which have been distinguished in the map.

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-Siliciclastic lithozone: limestones and marly limestones interbedded with medium to very coarse, locally microconglomeratic lithoarenites and sandy limestones, in cm- to dm-thick beds with erosional base and normal grading (Figure 1(c)). Lithoarenites show plane parallel lamination and, locally, cross lamination at the top. Grains are composed of mono- and polycrystalline quartz, volcanic rocks, granitoids and recrystallized carbonate rocks.

Locally (lower Comba dell’Infernetto valley) cm- to dm-thick beds of matrix-supported conglomerates with sandy limestone or lithoarenite matrix occur. Clasts, up to 15 cm in diameter, consist of granitoids, migmatites, rhyolites, and limestones.

-Reworked dolomite lithozone: cm- to dm-thick beds of packstones, containing reworked dolomite grains (deriving from the dolomitized Garbella Limestone), mudstone clasts and echinoderm fragments. Dolomite occurs as submillimetric, sub-angular crystal fragments and as mm- to cm-sized dolostone clasts, constituting up to 30–40 % of the rock. Beds commonly have an erosional base, and locally show normal grading, plane parallel and cross lamination.

4.6. Alpine Foreland Basin succession

4.6.1. Microcodium Formation (Lutetian? –early Bartonian, Varrone & Clari, 2003)

Lenticular bodies of clast-supported conglomerates, reaching a maximum thickness of 20–

25 m (Cima Saben). Clasts are cm- to dm-sized, and show a variable composition:

limestones and marly limestones, locally encrusted by Microcodium, in the Entracque Unit (Caire di Porcera); more or less dolomitized Garbella Limestone in the central part of the Refrey Zone (Passo di Ciotto Mien, Punta Bussaia); mainly volcanic (rhyolites, dacites) and metamorphic rocks in the Roaschia Unit (Cima Saben), in the LiVZ (Bec Baral), and in the eastern part of the Refrey Zone (Colle di Tenda).

4.6.2. Nummulitic Limestone (Bartonian–early Priabonian; Sinclair, 1997) 266

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In the Refrey Zone and in the southern part of the Entracque Unit it is represented by 20–

25 m of conglomerates, pebbly sandstones and sandy limestones with abundant clasts of dolomitized Garbella Limestone, rare quartz grains and bioclasts (nummulitids,

echinoderm, bivalves, gastropods and red algae) (Figure 1(d)). In the northern part of the Entracque Unit, the Nummulitic Limestone is 5–10 m thick and consists of dark limestones with echinoderm fragments, small nummulitids and bivalves, whereas in the Roaschia Unit and in the LiVZ it consists of 15–20 m of sandy limestones with quartz, mica, lithic clasts, and bioclasts (Nummulites, Dyscocyclina).

At the top of this unit, a thin interval of planktonic foraminifera-rich marls and calcareous marls is locally present (Globigerina Marl Auct.), arranged in cm-thick beds and affected by a marked slaty cleavage. The Globigerina Marl, due to the intense tectonic lamination, is laterally discontinuous and its thickness does not exceed a few metres. This unit cannot be represented on a 1:25,000 scale map, and it has been grouped with the Nummulitic

Limestone in a unique cartographic unit.

4.6.3. Annot Sandstone (late Priabonian–early Rupelian; Sinclair, 1997)

Alternation of sandstones and dark shales, some hundred-metres thick. Sandstone beds are dm- to m-thick (up to 3–4 metres in the lower part of the succession), and commonly show erosional bases, normal grading, and parallel laminations at the top.

4.7. Western Ligurian Helminthoides Flysch

4.7.1. San Bartolomeo Formation (late Hauterivian–late Campanian; Cobianchi, Di Giulio, Galbiati & Mosna, 1991)

Thin-bedded varicoloured pelites alternated with cm-thick carbonate beds (‘basal

complexes’ of Vanossi et al., 1984), cropping out in the Costa degli Artesin area as dam- to hm-thick sheared tectonic slices involved in the LiVZ.

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4.8. Carnieules Auct.

Vacuolar carbonates and polymictic or monomictic breccias with carbonate matrix, commonly occurring as irregular bodies along tectonic contacts, up to several tens of metres large and more than one km long. The main masses of carnieules crop out in correspondence of the tectonic boundary between the Argentera basement and the adjoining sedimentary successions (Valle Desertetto, Vallone d’Alpetto, Vallone del Sabbione). Clast composition is variable and in general reflects the composition of the rocks adjoining the carnieule bodies. Locally (Gias della Culatta) m-sized blocks are present, composed of green and red pelites, coarsely-crystalline gypsum and fine-grained dolostones. Carnieules can be interpreted as carbonate-cemented tectonic breccias, developed along tectonic contacts at the expenses of different rock types.

4.9. Quaternary deposits

Quaternary deposits have been subdivided in three large classes (undifferentiated glacial deposits; undifferentiated alluvial deposits; slope and talus debris), their detailed study being out of the scope of this work. For further information, the reader can refer to the map by Federici, Pappalardo, and Ribolini (2003), that covers a large part of the study area and provides an exhaustive representation of Quaternary deposits.

5. The Dauphinois–Provençal boundary

The transition between the Dauphinois basin and the Provençal platform successions occurs at Caire di Porcera, a few kilometres SE of Entracque. This boundary, mapped by Malaroda (1970) and described as a tectonic contact by Carraro et al. (1970), has been recently reinterpreted as a depositional escarpment, separating the top of the drowned 316

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Provençal platform from the Dauphinois basin during the Cretaceous (Barale, 2014; d’Atri et al., submitted).

The northern slope of Caire Porcera consists of dolomitized Garbella Limestone,

representing the northernmost outcrop of Jurassic Provençal carbonates in the Entracque Unit, replaced toward the NW by the Jurassic–Cretaceous Dauphinois succession. It is covered by a few-metres-thick Lower Cretaceous condensed succession, represented by a matrix-supported breccia, laterally equivalent of the lower breccia interval of the Lausa Limestone, followed by belemnite-bearing marly limestones (Testas Limestone, heteropic with the upper interval of the Lausa Limestone). The Cretaceous Marne Nere and Puriac Limestone of the Dauphinois succession progressively thin out toward Caire di Porcera and eventually disappear South of it. Onlap geometric relationships of these units with the condensed Lower Cretaceous succession overlaying the Caire di Porcera northern slope are clearly inferred from map evidence, even if not directly observable.

Even though the direct evidence of the Provençal–Dauphinois transition in Jurassic times cannot be observed, stratigraphic features and map evidence document that this boundary should have been placed close to the above described Lower Cretaceous


6. Dolomitization and recrystallization phenomena

The Middle Triassic–Jurassic Provençal carbonates are locally affected by a diffuse

hydrothermal dolomitization (Figure 1(e)). Dolomitization occurred in the Early Cretaceous (Valanginian? –Hauterivian?), at a very shallow burial depth, and was related to the

expulsion of hot fluids (about 200°C) through faults and fractures during episodes of fault activity (Barale et al., 2013; Barale, 2014). The distribution of the dolomitized rocks is shown on the map with two different symbols giving a qualitative indication of the 341

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dolomitization ‘intensity’, i.e. the degree of modification of the primary rock features. In areas with intense dolomitization, host rocks are locally completely dolomitized (m-sized masses), and both dolomite vein frameworks and dolomite-cemented breccias are present. In areas with moderate dolomitization rocks are only partially dolomitized, and neither dolomite vein frameworks nor dolomite-cemented breccias are present.

The Mesozoic successions of the Dauphinois and Provencal domains are locally affected by an important recrystallization, accompanied by the growth of new mineral phases, mainly silicates (Carraro et al., 1970) (Figure 1(f)). The most intense recrystallization affects the Dauphinois succession on the northern side of the Valle Desertetto, in the Entracque Unit. Two masses of recrystallized rocks are present, both of kilometre extension, known as Valdieri Marbles. Minor masses of highly recrystallized limestones are present within the Provençal Garbella Limestone, in the southern part of the study area (Vallone del Sabbione). Recrystallization is younger than the previously described

dolomitization, because it affects rocks as young as Late Cretaceous (Puriac Limestone).

Recrystallization is probably related to a localized upflow of hydrothermal fluids. A regional metamorphism cannot be in fact invoked because of the very local character of

recrystallization, which affects discrete rock masses laterally passing into non- recrystallized successions.

Moreover, in a restricted area between Entracque and Valdieri, the Marne Nere and the lower interval of the Puriac Limestone contain abundant crystals of authigenic albite, up to some millimetres long, whose genesis is probably related to a localized fluid circulation (Barale, 2014). The distribution of marble masses and the occurrence of authigenic albite have been indicated in the map.

7. Conclusions 366

367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390


The 1:25,000 geological map of the Entracque–Colle di Tenda area provides a representation of the stratigraphic and structural setting of the Meso–Cenozoic

sedimentary successions placed at the northeastern side of the Argentera Massif, and it constitutes a complementary document useful to address some specific issues discussed in papers of recent or forthcoming publications (Barale et al., 2013; Piana et al., 2009, 2014; d’Atri et al., submitted), namely:

the structural setting of the regional shear zone systems developed at the southern termination of the Western Alps arc;

the nature of the lateral transition between the Dauphinois and Provençal successions;

the distribution of carbonate rock bodies affected by hydrothermal dolomitization and by recrystallization phenomena.


The compilation of the geological map, including the preparation of the topographic base, was done using the ESRI® ArcGIS 9.2 Suite. The final layout of the map, the geologic sections, the tectonic sketch map, and the figures have been assembled and drawn using ACD® Canvas12.


The digital features that form the map are part of a database encompassing a larger area, which comprehends the Western Ligurian Alps and part of the Maritime Alps. This

database has a complex architecture deriving from a conceptual geological model of the whole region elaborated by a working group of the CNR–IGG (Italian National Research Council– Istituto di Geoscienze e Georisorse), and the Earth Science Department of the 391

392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400 401 402 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 410 411 412 413 414 415


Torino University. Furthermore, the digital contents of the map area are included in the DataBase of the Geological Map of Piedmont region at 1:250,000 (Piana et al., 2012), whose architecture is compliant with the INSPIRE Data Specification on Geology v.2.0.1 (http://inspire.ec.europa.eu/index.cfm/pageid/2/list/1) and GeoSciML vocabulary



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Figure captions 514

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Figure 1. (a) Breccia from the upper interval of the Entracque Marl, with angular clasts of finely-crystalline dolostones (D) and stretched mudstone clasts. Punta Stramondin. (b) Metre-sized blocks of dolomitized Garbella Limestone (arrows) in the lower interval of the Lausa Limestone. Tetti Prer. (c) Lithoarenite beds, with erosional base and normal

gradation, in the siliciclastic lithozone of Puriac Limestone. Monte La Piastra. (d)

Conglomerate with clasts of dolomitized Garbella Limestone, in the basal interval of the Nummulitic Limestone. Monte Garbella. (e) Sample of dolomitized Garbella Limestone, showing the transition from a completely dolomitized portion (right) to a partially

dolomitized one (left), with dolomite veins and scattered euhedral dolomite crystals. Monte Colombo. (f) Valdieri Marbles: impure marble formed at the expenses of the Puriac

Limestone, composed of light-coloured, carbonate-rich domains separated by dark- coloured, silicate-rich layers. Valle Desertetto quarries.

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Figure 1 565


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