Variscan and Pre-Variscan Tectonics
Benito Ábalos, Jordi Carreras, Elena Druguet, Javier Escuder Viruete, María Teresa Gómez Pugnaire, Saturnino Lorenzo Alvarez, Cecilio Quesada, Luis Roberto Rodríguez Fernández, José Ignacio Gil-Ibarguchi, 2002. "Variscan and Pre-Variscan Tectonics", The Geology of Spain, Wes Gibbons, Teresa Moreno
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Outcrops of pre-Mesozoic rocks in Spain form various massifs that relate to both Variscan (Late Palaeozoic) and pre-Variscan tectonic settings (Fig. 9.1). The largest one of these is the so-called Iberian Massif, an autochthonous massif across which an almost complete, undisturbed geotraverse of the European Variscan orogen has been preserved. Other massifs occur as variably reworked basement complexes in Alpine chains. These are: (i) the various pre-Mesozoic massifs of the Iberian and Catalonian Coastal ranges, that can basically be considered autochthonous with respect to the Iberian Massif; (ii) the basement massifs of the axial zone of the Pyrenees; and (iii) parts of the internal zones of the Betics. The latter two are essentially exotic with respect to the Iberian Massif. Several tectonic syntheses have been published so far on this orogen (e.g. Matte 1986, 1991; Julivert & Martínez 1987;, Dallmeyer & Martínez-García 1990;, Martínez-Catalán 1990a;, Ribeiro et al. 1990c;, Quesada 1990b, 1992;, Quesada et al. 1991;, Shelley & Bossière 2000).
It is agreed that the European Variscan belt resulted from the oblique collision and interaction between Palaeozoic supercontinents (Gondwana, Laurentia and Baltica) and a number of continental microplates during Neoproterozoic through Palaeozoic times. These microcontinents included fragments of magmatic arcs formed previously during a process of continental convergence at the margins of the major Neoproterozoic continental masses. Such a process resulted in the so-called Cadomian, Avalonian or Pan-African orogeny, developed