The Carpathians represent the eastern extension of the European Alps (Figure 1), but unlike the well-known classical Alps of Western Europe, the Carpathians of Central and Eastern Europe remain less known and are even somewhat mysterious to the outside world. The tumultuous political history as well as the language barriers prevented ideas and information from flowing freely through and outside the region. However, the area greatly contributed to the common knowledge in science and technology. Enormous amounts of geological work have been conducted, and thousands of papers have been published on the geology of the Carpathian region during the past 200 yr (see references in various articles of the volume). However, because of the language barriers and diverse concepts and interpretations, it is not easy for students of Carpathian geology and potential investors to cut through all the information and to get a clear picture about the geology and the hydrocarbon potential of the region. This situation has been well known to the editors of this volume, who both worked in the Carpathians and also spent a great deal of their careers in the American petroleum industry and had a chance to see the Carpathians from the view of outside world. In the early spring of 2000, they met in Krakow, where Jan Golonka, after retiring from Mobil, had just begun his new career as a professor at the Jagiellonian University and Frank Picha, after retiring from Chevron, had completed his AAPG Distinguished Lecture tour through the countries of Eastern Europe
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This volume of 30 chapters authored by 107 geologists and geophysicists from Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the USA provides a comprehensive and understandable account of geology and hydrocarbon resources of the entire Carpathian system from northeastern Austria to southern Romania, including the Neogene foredeep, the foreland platform both in front and beneath the thrust belt, the Carpathian thrust belt, and the late and post orogenic intermontane basins. Principal chapters on regional geology are supplemented by thematic contributions on geodynamic reconstructions, regional geophysical investigations, hydrocarbon systems, and case studies of major oil and gas fields. To date, close to 7 billion barrels of oil and more than 53 trillion cubic feet of natural gas have been produced from the entire Carpathian system. Additional new reserves may be found, especially at deeper structural levels below the Neogene foredeep and the thin-skinned Carpathian thrust belt. Seventeen chapters of Memoir 84 have been printed in full. The remaining chapters have been printed as abstracts only, with the full paper for all 30 chapters as .pdf files on the CD-ROM in the back of this publication. The publication is intended as a source of information to schools, governmental and private institutions, oil companies, and potential investors.