The term ‘Devonian’ was first used in the 1830s to describe a succession of rocks in Devonshire, a large county in SW England. The Devonian period is an interval of about 57 Ma in the middle part of the Palaeozoic with remarkable geological variety. It was influenced by active plate movements producing a wide range of environments and facies. The geosphere and biosphere were undergoing extraordinary changes during this period which can claim a remarkable number of biotic ‘firsts’, including the first appearance of vascular plants, ammonoids, insects and amphibians. A major radiation of fish took place and the Devonian has therefore been called ‘the age of fish’. The development of the earliest land floras, forests and soils on land areas changed the biosphere by transforming the terrestrial environment and linking it more closely with the aquatic realm. This influenced the evolution of tetrapods and their colonization of the land. The global climate switched from the hot greenhouse phase of the earlier Palaeozoic to the cold icehouse phase of the later Palaeozoic. This change was associated with one of the most important extinction phases of the Earth's history (the late-Frasnian biodiversity crisis). The greenhouse climate favoured the development of reef ecosystems dominated by rugose corals and stromatoporoids. They reached their acme in the Middle Devonian and disappeared in the late Frasnian, probably due to the global expansion of black, anoxic sediments on the shelves. Recent data suggest that the Frasnian crisis was triggered in large part by pulses of global
Figures & Tables
The Geology of Central Europe: Volume 1: Precambrian and Palaeozoic
This two-volume set provides the first comprehensive account in English of the geology of Central Europe. Written by more than 200 scientists from universities and research centres spread across Europe and North America, the 21 chapters are based on the main stratigraphic periods. Individual chapters outline the evolution of the region divided into a variety of sections which include overviews of the stratigraphic framework, climate, sea-level variations, palaeogeography and magmatic activity. These are followed by more detailed descriptions of the Central European succession, covering the main basins and magmatic provinces. Each chapter is thoroughly referenced, providing a unique and valuable information source.
Volume 1 focuses on the evolution of Central Europe from the Precambrian to the Permian, a dynamic period which traces the formation of Central Europe from a series of microcontinents that separated from Gondwana through to the creation of Pangaea. Separate summary chapters on the Cadomian, Caledonian and Variscan orogenic events as well as on Palaeozoic magmatism provide an overview of the tectonic and magmatic evolution of the region. These descriptions sometimes extend beyond the borders of Central Europe to take in the Scottish and Irish Caledonides as well as the Palaeozoic successions in the Baltic region.
Volume 2 provides an overview of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic evolution of Central Europe. This period commenced with the destruction of Pangaea and ended with the formation of the Alps and Carpathians and the subsequent Ice Ages. Separate summary chapters on the Permian to Cretaceous tectonics and the Alpine evolution are also included. The final chapter provides an overview of the fossil fuels, ore and industrial minerals in the region.
The Geology of Central Europe is a key reference work suitable not only for libraries across the world, but of interest to all researchers, teachers and students of European Geology.