Structure and kinematics of the northern Simano Nappe, Central Alps, Switzerland

Rütti, Roger (2005). Structure and kinematics of the northern Simano Nappe, Central Alps, Switzerland Eclogae geologicae Helvetiae, 98(1), pp. 63-81. Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 10.1007/s00015-005-1148-7

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New structural data allow the internal structure and kinematics of the Lower Penninic Simano Nappe to be established, together with the relationship of this unit to the underlying Leventina Gneisses and the also underlying Maggia Nappe. Three clearly distinguishable Alpine deformation phases (D1, D2, D3) are recognized within the Simano Nappe. D1 developed in mid-crustal levels under metamorphic conditions of ca. 1 GPa and 500°C and produced kilome- tre-scale, recumbent, north-closing anticlinal folds, called nappes. During D2 these nappes were intensely refolded on the same scale and with identical style to form the present day recumbent fold pattern. The axial planar foliation S2 is the dominant planar fabric throughout most of the Central Alps. The subse- quent phase D3 overprints the entire tectonostratigraphy of the Central Alps, with broader and more upright D3 folds trending oblique to the orogen. Re- gionally, these broad D3 folds have a major influence on the overall foliation and nappe outcrop pattern of the Central Alps. During D2 and D3, peak metamorphic conditions reached temperatures of up to 650°C, under pressures of 0.7-0.8 GPa. An important consequence of this deformation history is that lithological units separated only by D2-synforms formed part of the same tectonostratigraphic level after D1 nappe-stacking and therefore should not be interpreted as different nappes. This principle can be directly applied to the re- lationship between the Simano and the two adjacent units. The underlying Leventina Gneisses are separated from the Simano rocks by an originally intrusive contact that has been strongly reactivated during both D1 and D2. Therefore, it is taken to represent a true nappe contact, although locally it still retains some original intrusive relationships and has also been strongly reacti- vated during D2. The Maggia and Simano units represent alternate limbs of a D2 synform-antiform pair, the Mogno synform and the Larecc antiform, or more generally the Verzasca-Larecc-Ganna antiform. If the Maggia unit is simply the continuation of the Simano unit around the D2 Mogno synform, then post-D1 they represented a single Simano-Maggia Nappe. The Maggia “Nappe” is therefore also part of the European margin and cannot be sepa- rately assigned to the Briançonnais paleogeographic domain, as has been pro- posed.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering
School of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering > Institute for Urban Development and Infrastructure > Geotechnics and Natural Phenomena


Rütti, Roger;
Maxelon, Michael and
Mancktelow, Neil S.


Q Science > QE Geology


Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel






Roger Rütti

Date Deposited:

10 May 2021 16:03

Last Modified:

10 May 2021 16:03

Publisher DOI:





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