EGU22-11266, updated on 10 Jan 2024
EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2024. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Internal deformation of the Dolomites Indenter, eastern Southern Alps: structural field data and low-temperature thermochronology

Thomas Klotz1, Hannah Pomella1, Anna-Katharina Sieberer1, Hugo Ortner1, and István Dunkl2
Thomas Klotz et al.
  • 1Department of Geology, University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
  • 2Department of Sedimentology and Environmental Geology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany

The Dolomites Indenter represents the front of the Neogene to ongoing N(W)-directed continental indentation of Adria into Europe. Deformation of the Dolomites Indenter is well studied along its rim, documented by important fault zones such as the Periadriatic fault system, the Giudicarie belt, and the Valsugana and Montello fault systems. With this study, we aim to investigate the internal deformation of the Dolomites Indenter, which has been much less studied so far but is important for understanding crustal-scale processes during the Alpine orogeny.


Our approach to unravel the indenters exhumation and deformation history comprises (i) the compilation and acquisition of detailed structural and sedimentological field data within the Dolomites Indenter, (ii) a collection of a new and comprehensive low-temperature thermochronological dataset (this contribution), and (iii) crustal- to lithospheric-scale physical analogue modelling experiments (see contribution of Sieberer et al. in session TS7.2 – Internal deformation of the Dolomites Indenter, eastern Southern Alps: Orthogonal to oblique basin inversion investigated in crustal scale analogue models).


New field data comprise evidence for four distinguishable shortening directions. Examined intersection criteria along N-S cross sections covering the indenters extend from Periadriatic to Bassano fault system support a succession of Top SW, Top (S)SE, Top S and Top E(SE) movement. However, preexisting geometry strongly seems to affect the regional expression of respective compression phases and along strike variation of lineation trends can be observed within coherent fault systems.


The limited amount of existing thermochronological data already indicates the presence of relative vertical displacements within the Dolomites Indenter after the onset of indentation, including mostly Miocene apatite fission track (AFT) cooling ages along the Periadriatic and the Valsugana fault and several age clusters of Triassic to Jurassic AFT data. In order to obtain a detailed picture of the indenters thermotectonic evolution, an extensive set of samples has been collected along three roughly N-S striking corridors between Bolzano in the west and Tolmezzo in the east. In this contribution we present the new apatite (U-Th)/He and fission track data along the westernmost corridor (Mauls - Brixen - Valsugana - Schio).


The results of field work, comprehensive modelling of time temperature paths, and physical analogue modelling substantially contribute to the understanding of internal deformation and thus enable conclusions to be drawn about the processes at lithospheric scale.

How to cite: Klotz, T., Pomella, H., Sieberer, A.-K., Ortner, H., and Dunkl, I.: Internal deformation of the Dolomites Indenter, eastern Southern Alps: structural field data and low-temperature thermochronology, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-11266,, 2022.