EGU General Assembly 2020
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Structural thermochronology along geophysical transects through the Alps

Christoph Glotzbach1, Paul Eizenhoefer1, Jonas Kley2, and Todd A. Ehlers1
Christoph Glotzbach et al.
  • 1University Tübingen, Mineralology & Geodynamics, Department of Geoscience, Tübingen, Germany (,,
  • 2Georg-August-University Göttingen, Geoscience Centre, Göttingen, Germany (

Changes in the deep lithosphere (e.g., slab break-off or a switch in subduction polarity) potentially result in orogen-wide structural reorientations and changes in the pace and location of exhumation and Earth surface processes. In this project we combine bedrock thermochronology and balanced cross sections with thermo-kinematic modelling to reconstruct the cooling and exhumation history along geophysical profiles crossing the Central and Eastern Alps. Available thermochronological data together with new apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He ages taken along the NFP-20E, TRANSALP and EASI profile is used to test and improve existing across-strike, orogen-wide balanced cross sections. This ‘structural thermochronology’ method yields reliable information about the structural and kinematic evolution of the Alps since continental collision. As an example, thermochronological data along TRANSALP can be fitted with a kinematic model suggested by balanced cross sections and both datasets suggest a general shift from pro- to retro-wedge deformation, potentially related to a switch in subduction polarity.

How to cite: Glotzbach, C., Eizenhoefer, P., Kley, J., and Ehlers, T. A.: Structural thermochronology along geophysical transects through the Alps, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-6781,, 2020

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Presentation version 1 – uploaded on 27 Apr 2020
  • CC1: Comment on EGU2020-6781, Ernst Willingshofer, 07 May 2020

    Hello Paul,

    You might be interested in the paper of Luth et al. 2013 (Tectonophysics 582) in which we argue for the change from pro to retrowedge deformation in the Eastern Alps as a response to the flip in subduction polarity.

    For the relationship of seismicity and crustal strnegth along the Transalp profile see Willingshofer & Cloetingh 2003, Tectonics.

    Hope that these papers are useful for  your work,



    • AC1: Reply to CC1, Christoph Glotzbach, 07 May 2020

      Hi Ernst,

      thanks for your comment on our work. We will have a look on these manuscripts and will definitely include them in our interpretation and eventually publication.