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
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This book provides the first comprehensive account in English of the geology of mainland Spain and the Balearic and Canary islands. It has been written by 159 research-active, mostly Spanish authors working together in teams from over 20 universities and other centres of research excellence. The 19 chapters begin with an overview of Spanish geology prepared by the editors, followed by a detailed examination of Iberian Precambrian and Palaeozoic rocks in Spain, Variscan magmatism and tectonics, and the Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentary record and fossil record. Subsequent chapters deal with the Alpine orogeny in the Pyrenees, Betics and other mountain ranges of Spain and the Balearic Islands, and with Cenozoic magmatism, including the classic hot-spot-related volcanism of the Canary Islands. The final chapter focuses on economic and environmental geology, emphasizing metallic deposits and industrial minerals, hydrocarbon energy resources, water supply, and modern seismic hazard. Finally a bibliography of around 4000 references provides a uniquely valuable information source. Encompassing subjects as diverse as the origin of Spanish granites, the palaeogeographic and tectonometamorphic history of the Iberian plate, human evolution in the SW Mediterranean, and modern volcanism and earthquake activity, The Geology of Spain is a key reference work suitable not only for libraries across the world, but of interest to all researchers, teachers and students of SW European geology.