Plate-tectonic Evolution and Paleogeography of the Circum-Carpathian Region
Jan Golonka, Lisa Gahagan, Michał Krobicki, Frantisek Marko, Nestor Oszczypko, Andrzej Ślączka, 2006. "Plate-tectonic Evolution and Paleogeography of the Circum-Carpathian Region", The Carpathians and Their Foreland: Geology and Hydrocarbon Resources, Jan Golonka, Frank J. Picha
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Sixteen time interval maps were constructed that depict the latest Precambrian to Neogene plate-tectonic configuration, paleogeography, and lithofacies of the circum-Carpathian area. The plate-tectonic model used was based on PLATES and PALEOMAP software.
The supercontinent Pannotia was assembled during the latest Precambrian as a result of the Pan-African and Cadomian orogenies. All Precambrian terranes in the circum-Carpathian realm belonged to the supercontinent Pannotia, which, during the latest Precambrian–earliest Cambrian, was divided into Gondwana, Laurentia, and Baltica. The split of Gondwana during the Paleozoic caused the origin of the Avalonian and then Gothic terranes. The subsequent collision of these terranes with Baltica was expressed in the Caledonian and Hercynian orogenies. The terrane collision was followed by the collision between Gondwana and the amalgamation of Baltica and Laurentia known as Laurussia. The basement of most of the plates, which was an important factor in the Mesozoic–Cenozoic evolution of the circum-Carpathian area, was formed during the late Paleozoic collisional events. The older Cadomian and Caledonian basement elements experienced Hercynian tectonothermal overprint.
The Mesozoic rifting events resulted in the origin of oceanic-type basins like Meliata and Pieniny along the northern margin of the Tethys. The separation of Eurasia from Gondwana resulted in the formation of the Ligurian–Penninic–Pieniny Ocean as a continuation of the Central Atlantic Ocean and as part of the Pangean breakup tectonic system. During the Late Jurassic–Early Cretaceous, the Outer Carpathian rift developed.
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The latest Cretaceous–earliest Paleocene was the time of the closure of the Pieniny Ocean. The Adria–Alcapa terranes continued their northward movement during the Eocene–early Miocene. Their oblique collision with the North European plate led to the development of the accretionary wedge of the Outer Carpathians and foreland basin. The northward movement of the Alpine segment of the Carpathian–Alpine orogen has been stopped because of the collision with the Bohemian Massif. At the same time, the extruded Carpatho-Pannonian units were pushed to the open space toward the bay of weak crust filled up by the Outer Carpathian flysch sediments. The separation of the Carpatho-Pannonian segment from the Alpine one and its propagation to the north were related to the development of the north–south dextral strike-slip faults. The formation of the Western Carpathian thrusts was completed by the Miocene. The thrust front was still progressing eastward in the Eastern Carpathians. The Carpathian loop, including the Pieniny Klippen structure, was formed. The Neogene evolution of the Carpathians resulted also in the formation of the genetically different sedimentary basins. The various basins were formed because of the lithospheric extension, flexure, and strike-slip-related processes.
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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.