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Abstract

The Ordovician outcrops of central Europe belong to various areas with, in general, a very complex tectonic evolution. In this chapter, we review the localities that were attributed to peri-Gondwanan terranes. We do not therefore include a detailed description of areas attributed to the Baltica palaeocontinent (Denmark, southern Sweden, Baltic States, northeastern Poland).

Whereas the northwestern part of Central Europe belonged, during the Ordovician, to the eastern part of the microcontinent of Avalonia (Belgium, western and northern Germany, possibly northwestern Poland), the outcrop areas of the Rhenohercynian, Saxothuringian and Moldanubian zones have mostly been assigned to Gondwana-derived terranes (such as, in palaeogeogra-phical terms, Armorica or the Armorican Terrane Assemblage (ATA) and Perunica) or to sedimentary basins in the vicinity of the Gondwanan supercontinent. Our review includes the Avalo-nian sequences of Belgium in the northwestern part of the investigated area of Central Europe, continues into western, northern and eastern Germany and extends into northwestern and southern Poland. The review of the Ordovician of the Saxothuringian and the Moldanubian zones includes the outcrop areas of southeastern Germany, the Czech Republic and southwestern Poland. The Ordovician from the pre-Variscan parts of the Alpine mountain chains of Switzerland, Austria and northern Italy are also briefly discussed.

In terms of stratigraphy, the British Ordovician series and stages were generally used as a standard in most parts of western and central Europe. However, in the last two decades, significant progress has been made in Ordovician series and stage boundary definitions on a global scale. A tripartite division of

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