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History[ edit ] Nappes or nappe belts are a major feature of the European AlpsCarpathians and Balkans. Some of these were substantiated with paleontological evidence. The concept was developed Tectonic architecture Marcel Alexandre Bertrandwho unraveled the complex tectonic history of the Alps and identified the feature as nappe de charriage.
Several years later, nappe structure was investigated in northwestern Scotland by Charles Lapworth. Lugeon later transferred the ideas of nappes to the Carpathians. The frontal part in the direction of movement, is called the leading edge of a nappe; numerous folds and secondary thrusts and duplexes are common features here and are sometimes called digitations.
The surface of a thrust fault which caused movement of a nappe is called a decollementdetachment plane or sole of thrust.
The root area is an area where the nappe is completely separated from its substratum. It is often compressed and reduced, even underthrust below the surrounding tectonic units, resulting in a specific structure called a suture. A nappe whose root area is unknown, is called a rootless nappe.
Areas with a nappe structure often contain two types of geological features: A fault inlier, fenster, or window is an area of the autochthonous basement uncovered by erosion, but entirely surrounded by the body of the nappe; the Hohe Tauern window in the Alps is a typical example.
Classification[ edit ] According to petrographical composition, two basic types of nappes are known: Basement nappes are composed generally of crystalline basement rocks but may contain basement sedimentary coverforming so-called thick-skinned style.
Nappes of this type usually reach a large thickness and form independent superunits such as Penninic nappes. Cover nappes or so called superficial nappes are composed generally of sedimentary rocks that form the upper part of crustforming so-called thin-skinned style.
Therefore, nappes of this type form smaller units, such as the Hallstatt nappe in the Austroalpine nappes of the Alps. Mechanisms of emplacement[ edit ] Converging tectonic plates and the orogenic wedge Nappes are generally considered as compressional structures, however some exceptions could be found especially among the gravitational slides along low angle faults.
The movement of huge masses of rock may be influenced by several forces, forces that may act together or sequentially. At shallower depths, low pressures and temperatures can't cause the plastic and viscous behavior of solid rock necessary to move along low angle faults.
It is considered that such characteristics may be achieved at significantly less extreme conditions in the clayey rocks or evaporiteswhich can then act as tectonic lubricants. The process, which significantly reduces the frictional resistance, is the fluid overpressure, which acts against the normal pressure, thereby reducing high lithostatic pressures and allowing fracturationcataclasis and formation of tectonic breccia or fault gouge that could act as a decollement plane.
Evaporites are also often related the decollement and thrust planes. Evaporites are strongly prone to shear deformation and therefore preferred planes of detachment.
Gravitational spreading, possibly accompanied by an initial phase of diapirismis generated by large heat flow that causes detachment in a hinterland.
Look up nappe in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. Wikimedia Commons has media related to nappes. Glossary of geology and related sciences.
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