Chercheur postdoctoral / Postdoctoral researcher

  • Postdoctoral research project (April 2018 – March 2020)

Subject: Ultra-distal domains : « Terra Incognita » for research, “Terra Spes” for exploration.

The aim of the Postdoctoral study is to perform 3D strati-sequential interpretation associated with structural deformations to better understand and quantify controlling processes of distal margin and Ocean-Continent-Transition formation.

Investigation area:
Present-day margin: Gabon margin

Gianreto MANATSCHAL (Université de Strasbourg)
Frank Despinois (Total Pau)
Jean-Noël Ferry (Total Pau)


Subject : Morpho-tectono-magmatic evolution and reactivation of ultra-distal magma-poor rifted margins: the fossil Err-Platta Ocean-Continent-Transition (SE Switzerland) and comparison to present-day analogues

The aim of this study is to investigate the morpho-structural and magmatic evolution of magma-poor distal rifted margins, as well as their reactivation. This study is focused on the fossil distal margins of the Alpine Tethys and notably on the distal Adriatic margin. The study of the reactivation of these domains, preserved in the Err and Platta nappes (southeast Switzerland), shows that alpine thrusts (2nd and 3rd order) principally reworked former rift structures. The Err nappe can be restored as a hyper-extended domain characterized by a system of detachment faults with a complex 3D architecture. This system of detachment faults evolves in-sequence and leads to the continental crust separation and the exhumation of subcontinental mantle. The spatial evolution of these faults seems to be influenced by the occurrence of inherited structures (Permian faults) and pre-rift evaporites that controlled the formation of allochthon blocks. The Platta nappe corresponds to a subcontinental exhumed mantle domain associated to an increase of syn-tectonic magmatic additions oceanwards. The most distal domain is interpreted as the relic of a domeshaped structure capped by a detachment fault and crosscut by latter normal faults. These faults facilitated the emplacement of basalts and fluid circulations. The approach developed in this thesis enabled a better understanding of one example of a distal and ultra-distal magma-poor rifted margin, as well as to discuss processes related to the formation and reactivation of plate boundaries.

Keywords : Distal magma-poor rifted margins, hyper-extended domains, exhumed mantle domains, 3D architecture, reactivation, Err-Platta nappe, Alps.

Supervisor :

  • Pr. Gianreto MANATSCHAL (Université de Strasbourg, F)
  • ING. Marc Lescanne (TOTAL Pau, F) 

Rapporteurs :

  • Pr. John Barbara (University of Wyoming,USA)
  • Pr. MacLeod Chris (University of Cardiff, UK)

Examinateurs :

  • Dr. Cannat Mathilde (Institue de Physique du globe de Paris, F)
  • Dr. Lagabrielle Yves  (Université de Renne,F)
  • Pr. Osmundsen Per Terje (Geological Survey of Norway, N)
  • Pr. Schmid Stephan (Université de Bâle/ETH Zürich, CH)

Investigation area :

  • Field analogues: Err and Platta nappes, Grisons, SE Switzerland, Alps
  • Present-day: Iberia-Newfoundland margin
  • Publications

J. Tugend, M. Gillard, G. Manatschal, M. Nirrengarten, C. Harkin, M.-E. Epin, D. Sauter, J. Autin, N. Kusznir & K. McDermott (2018) Reappraisal of the Magma-rich versus Margma-poor Rifted Margin Archetypes, Geological Society of London (Special publication)

M. Gillard, D. Sauter, J. Tugend, S. Tomasi, M.-E. Epin & G. Manatschal (2017) Birth of an oceanic spreading center at a magma-poor rift system, Scientific Reports

M.-E. Epin, G. Manatschal & M. Amann (2017) Defining diagnostic criteria to describe the role of rift inheritance in collisional orogens: the case of the Err-Platta nappes (Switzerland), Suisse Journal of Geoscience

M.-E. Epin, G. Manatschal (2018) Three-Dimensional Architecture, Structural Evolution, and Role of Inheritance Controlling Detachment Faulting at a Hyperextended Distal Margin: The Example of the Err Detachment System (SE Switzerland), Tectonics

J. Tugend, M. Gillard, G. Manatschal, M. Nirengarten, C. Harkin, M.-E. Epin, D. Sauter, J. Autin, N. Kusnir, K. McDermot (2018) Reappraisal of the magma-rich versus magma-poor rifted margin archetypes, Geological Society of London

A. Decarlis, M. Gillard, R. Tribuzio, M. E. Epin, G. Manatschal (2018) Breaking up continents at magma-poor rifted margins: a seismic v. outcrop perspective, Journal of the Geological Society

M.-E. Epin, G. Manatschal,  M. Amann, C. Ribes, A. Clausse, T. Guffon, M. Lescanne (2019) Polyphase tectono‑magmatic evolution during mantle exhumation in an ultra‑distal, magma‑poor rift domain: example of the fossil Platta ophiolite, SE Switzerland, International Journal of Earth Sciences

C. Ribes, G. Manatschal, J.-F. Ghienne, G. D. Karner, C. A. Johnson, P. H. Figuerdo, N. Incerpi, M.-E. Epin(2019) The syn‑rift stratigraphic record across a fossil hyper‑extended rifted margin: the example of the northwestern Adriatic margin exposed in the Central Alps, Internetional Journal of Earth Sciences

M. Amann, M. Ulrich, G. Manatschal, E. Pelt, M.-E. Epin, J. Autin, D. Sauter (2019) Geochemical characteristics of basalts related to incipient oceanization: The example from the Alpine-Tethys OCTs, Terra Nova


  • Talks :

M.-E. Epin, G. Manatschal & M. Amann (2016) What controls the reactivation or preservation of distal ocean-continent transitions: the example of the Err-Platta nappes, SE Switzerland, European Geosciences Union, Vienna

M.-E. Epin & G. Manatschal (2016) Nature of basement highs in ultra-distal ocean-continent transitions: on- and off-shore examples , European Geosciences Union, Vienna

M.-E. Epin, G. Manatschal & M. Amann (2016) Characteristisation of an ancient Ocean Continent Transition exposed in the Err-Platta nappes  in SE Switzerland: controls on preservation and reactivation, GeoTirol, Innsbruck

M.-E. Epin & G. Manatschal (2017) 3D architecture, importance of inheritance and structural evolution of an extensional detachment system related to crustal thinning and exhumation: example of the Err detachment (SE Switzerland) , European Geosciences Union, Vienna

M.-E. Epin, G. Manatschal, M. Amann, C. Ribes, T. Guffond, A. Clausse (2018) Morpho-tectonic and magmatic evolution recorded in a fossil Ocean-Continent Transition: insights from field observations (Grison, Alps).European Geosciences Union, Vienna


  • Posters :

M.-E. Epin, G. Manatschal, I. Haupert & A. Decarlis (2015) Characterization of basement highs in hyper-extended rift systems: examples from the Err nappe, SE Switzerland, European Geosciences Union, Vienna

M.-E. Epin, G. Manatschal, I. Haupert & A. Decarlis (2015) Characterization of extensional detachement systems in hyper-extended domains: example from the Err nappe (SE Switzerland) and Prepiémontais units (SE France), Alpine Workshop, Mongenèvre

M.-E. Epin & G. Manatschal (2016) 3D Architecture of Ultra-Distal Magma-Poor Rifted Margins: the Example of the Fossil Err and Platta Ocean Continent Transition Exposed in the Central Alps in SE Switzerland, American Geosciences Union, San Francisco

M.-E. Epin, G. Manatschal, M. Amann & M. Lescanne (2017) Polyphase tectono-magmatic and fluid history related to mantle exhumation in an ultra-distal rift domain: example of the fossil Platta domain, SE Switzerland , European Geosciences Union, Vienna


  • Association de médiation en géoscience / Association of mediation in geoscience : 

Gé-P-To, Géosciences Pour Tous


Université de Strasbourg (UdS)
Ecole et Observatoire des Sciences de la Terre (EOST)
Institut de Physique du Globe (IPGS) (CNRS / UMR 7516)

Institut de Géologie
1 rue Blessig
67084 Strasbourg Cedex