A dike network transecting a basement of intrusive and metamorphic rocks related to the Hercynian orogeny is exposed in the Sila Grande (southern Italy). Dike magmatism, similarly to other regions of the western Mediterranean, such as Sardinia, Corsica, and Catalonia, is of calc-alkaline to alkali-calcic affinity. Zircon U-Pb geochronology indicates that dike magmatism took place between 295 ± 1 to 277 ± 1 Ma, after the main late Hercynian emplacement of granitoids (306 ± 1 Ma). Barometry indicates that the basement underwent exhumation of 8 ± 3 km before dike injection. The dike network has a geometrical arrangement consistent with a transtensional stress regime that resulted in ductile thinning of the lower crust during the late stage of the Hercynian orogeny and concurrent fracturing of the upper crust that made possible magma ascent through dikes. The proposed tectonic evolution is related to dismemberment of the southern Hercynian belt in the central Mediterranean area as a result of dextral transtension of Gondwana in relation to Laurasia during the Pennsylvanian–Early Permian.
- Received 19 January 2010.
- Revision received 25 May 2010.
- Accepted 9 September 2010.
- © 2010 Geological Society of America