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Voh, New Caledonia

Service Geologique

Voh, New Caledonia
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Quesnel B.,CNRS Geosciences Laboratory of Rennes | Gautier P.,CNRS Geosciences Laboratory of Rennes | Boulvais P.,CNRS Geosciences Laboratory of Rennes | Cathelineau M.,CNRS Georesources lab | And 7 more authors.
Geology | Year: 2013

Exceptional outcrops recently exposed in the Koniambo massif allow the study of the serpentine sole of the peridotite nappe of New Caledonia (southwest Pacific Ocean). Many magnesite veins are observed, with characteristics indicating that they were emplaced during pervasive top-to-the-southwest shear deformation. The oxygen isotope composition of magnesite is homogeneous (27.4% < d18O < 29.7%), while its carbon isotope composition varies widely (-16.7% < d13C < -8.5%). These new data document an origin of magnesite from meteoric fl uids. Laterization on top of the peridotite nappe and carbonation along the sole appear to represent complementary records of meteoric water infiltration. Based on the syn-kinematic character of magnesite veins, we propose that syn-laterization tectonic activity has enhanced water infiltration, favoring the exportation of leached elements like Mg, which has led to widespread carbonation along the serpentine sole. This calls for renewed examination of other magnesite-bearing ophiolites worldwide in order to establish whether active tectonics is commonly a major agent for carbonation. © 2013 Geological Society of America.

Vialle N.,Museum dHistoire Naturelle dAix en Provence | Vialle N.,Montpellier University | Merzeraud G.,Montpellier University | Delmer C.,Natural History Museum in London | And 9 more authors.
Journal of African Earth Sciences | Year: 2013

Dental and postcranial remains (an atlas, carpus and metacarpus elements, and a part of the pelvic girdle) of an embrithopod mammal are described from Bir Om Ali, Tunisia, a new late Eocene locality. The enamel microstructure of a tooth fragment found in association shows 'arsinoitheriid radial enamel', an enamel condition which is characteristic of Arsinoitherium (Arsinoitheriidae, Embrithopoda). Although the postcranial elements slightly differ in size and morphology from those of Arsinoitherium zitteli (late Eocene to early Oligocene), we tentatively refer this new Eocene Tunisian material to that genus. These fossils represent the first known embrithopod from the Eocene of Tunisia. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Quesnel B.,CNRS Geosciences Laboratory of Rennes | Gautier P.,CNRS Geosciences Laboratory of Rennes | Cathelineau M.,CNRS Georesources lab | Boulvais P.,CNRS Geosciences Laboratory of Rennes | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Structural Geology | Year: 2016

We present a structural analysis of serpentine-bearing faults and shear zones in the Koniambo Massif, one of the klippes of the Peridotite Nappe of New Caledonia. Three structural levels are recognized. The upper level is characterized by a dense network of fractures. Antigorite and polygonal serpentine form slickenfibers along fault planes with distinct kinematics. As a result, the upper level keeps the record of at least two deformation events, the first associated with the growth of antigorite (WNW-ESE extension), the second with the growth of polygonal serpentine (NW-SE compression). The lower level coincides with the 'serpentine sole' of the nappe, which consists of massive tectonic breccias overlying a layer of mylonitic serpentinites. The sole records pervasive tangential shear with top-to-SW kinematics and represents a décollement at the base of the nappe. The intermediate level is characterized by the presence of several meters-thick conjugate shear zones accommodating NE-SW shortening. Like the sole, these shear zones involve polygonal serpentine and magnesite as the main syn-kinematic mineral phases. The shear zones likely root into the basal décollement, either along its roof or, occasionally, around its base. Compared to top-to-SW shearing along the sole, the two deformation events recorded in the upper level are older.The three structural levels correlate well with previously recognized spatial variations in the degree of serpentinization. It is therefore tempting to consider that the intensity of serpentinization played a major role in the way deformation has been distributed across the Peridotite Nappe. However, even the least altered peridotites, in the upper level, contain so much serpentine that, according to theoretical and experimental work, they should be nearly as weak as pure serpentinite. Hence, no strong vertical gradient in strength due to variations in the degree of serpentinization is expected within the exposed part of the nappe. Our proposal is that strain localization along the serpentine sole results from the juxtaposition of the nappe, made of weak serpentinized peridotites, against the strong mafic rocks of its substratum. This interpretation is at odds with the intuitive view that would consider the nappe, made of peridotites, as stronger than its basement. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.

Baumann F.,University of New Caledonia | Maurizot P.,Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières | Mangeas M.,CIRAD - Agricultural Research for Development | Ambrosi J.-P.,Aix - Marseille University | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Health Perspectives | Year: 2011

Background: High incidences of malignant mesothelioma (MM) have been observed in New Caledonia. Previous work has shown an association between MM and soil containing serpentinite. Objectives: We studied the spatial and temporal variation of MM and its association with environmental factors. Methods: We investigated the 109 MM cases recorded in the Cancer Registry of New Caledonia between 1984 and 2008 and performed spatial, temporal, and space-time cluster analyses. We conducted an ecological analysis involving 100 tribes over a large area including those with the highest incidence rates. Associations with environmental factors were assessed using logistic and Poisson regression analyses. Results: The highest incidence was observed in the Houaïlou area with a world age-standardized rate of 128.7 per 100,000 person-years [95% confidence interval (CI), 70.41-137.84]. A significant spatial cluster grouped 18 tribes (31 observed cases vs. 8 expected cases; p = 0.001), but no significant temporal clusters were identified. The ecological analyses identified serpentinite on roads as the greatest environmental risk factor (odds ratio = 495.0; 95% CI, 46.2-4679.7; multivariate incidence rate ratio = 13.0; 95% CI, 10.2-16.6). The risk increased with serpentinite surface, proximity to serpentinite quarries and distance to the peridotite massif. The association with serpentines was stronger than with amphiboles. Living on a slope and close to dense vegetation appeared protective. The use of whitewash, previously suggested to be a risk factor, was not associated with MM incidence. Conclusions: Presence of serpentinite on roads is a major environmental risk factor for mesothelioma in New Caledonia.

Ravel A.,Montpellier University | Marivaux L.,Montpellier University | Tabuce R.,Montpellier University | Ben Haj Ali M.,Service Geologique | And 2 more authors.
Palaeontology | Year: 2012

Among the new dental remains from the late Early Eocene of Chambi (Kasserine area, Tunisia) is a large-sized upper molar of a new bat species, Witwatia sigei nov. sp. (Chiroptera, Vespertilionoidea, Philisidae), described herein. The locality of Chambi has revealed evidence for an early appearance of two modern microchiropteran superfamilies in Africa: Dizzya exsultans, a Philisidae, which is considered to be an archaic Vespertilionoidea, and an indeterminate Rhinolophoidea. In addition to D. exsultans, the new species, W. sigei, is the second representative of the Philisidae in this locality. W. sigei extends back to the late Early Eocene the occurrence of the genus Witwatia, which was previously only reported from the early Late Eocene of the Fayum (BQ-2, Egypt). By analogy with the largest extant microbats, the large size of Witwatia suggests a tendency to the opportunistic diet of this taxon, thereby contrasting with the strict insectivory characterizing primitive bats found in other continents in the same epoch. © The Palaeontological Association.

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